Friday, February 26, 2010

Shutter Island (***)

Shutter Island. 138 mins. R. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Writen by Laeta Kaligridis. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, and Max Von Sydow.

The trailers for Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese's latest collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio, suggest a scary and thrilling mindbender. That's not what you get though. Scorsese is working in Cape Fear mode, paying homage to Hitchcock and other great directors of the genre, but he seems to have ignored the simple (yet important) things like pacing, intensity, and, yes, actual thrills. Shutter Island should keep you mentally on edge and physically on the edge of your seat, but instead it settles for just being weird. It's not even unsettling or all that mysterious. Leo stars as Teddy Daniels, an FBI agent, ferried over to the mental hospitals of Shutter Island, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Teddy clearly has some problems of his own though, as indicated by flashes to his days as a soldier in World War II and the haunting images he has of his dead wife (Michelle Williams). As Teddy's investigation deepens, his mind unravels, and it all leads to one of those big twists in the end, this one a tad more satisfying than others. Scorsese is having a lot of fun with the concept - always playing visual tricks on the audience (i.e., now you see something, now you don't), but the audience is still always one step ahead of the movie. We know where it's going, because most of the tricks up it's sleeve are telegraphed in advance. The acting is solid. Leo is as dependable as ever, and easily carries the movie on his shoulders. The music is great - big and foreboding, like something out of Kubrick's The Shining. I left Shutter Island wanting to see it again (always a good sign), but it's no masterpiece. It's simply a pretty good film from a brilliant director who is capable of so much more.

- John


At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I tell you that you are dead on with this movie. You don't even need to write a review. 3 stars out of 5 is exactly correct. Acting was good, directing was good, film was lacking. It was like you have seen it before. I figured it out in the first 30 minutes or so. It was just....obvious, plain, nothing to write home about. In the end an average movie with a little something extra thanks to a great director and some good acting here and there.

At 11:49 PM, Blogger Hammer said...

Agreed - you're making this very easy on me, not having to write a review. I'll probably do so anyway, but I think you've already said it best.


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