Saturday, February 16, 2013

This Month In... 2010: "Shutter Island"

Featuring the most shocking twist ending since

The Island of Misfit Ploys

      It's not entirely shocking why I chose Shutter Island as this weeks review. I've only heard great things about it from friends and family. The film is directed by Martin Scorsese (The Departed), so there's another major plus in it's favorite. It almost might have to do with no other major film being released at this time in February 2010, but that's probably not that important. The film is adapted by Laeta Kalogridis (Pathfinder) off of the Dennis Leanne (Gone Baby Gone). The film follows Teddy (Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar), a US Marshall who, along with his partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo, Zodiac), investigates the disappearance of a patient (Emily Mortimer, Harry Brown) on a island mental institution run by Dr. Crowley (Ben Kingsley, War, INC.). As his investigation goes on, Teddy's own hidden agenda is revealed and his own sanity is slowly starting to crack.

You've got some dirt on your wall.
The Master at Work

      Visually speaking, Shutter Island is fantastic. Scorsese continues to prove why he is regarded as one of the best directors in film history. The film is a fairly simple story. There have been countless other "Person-Investigates-Institution-and-Goes-Crazy" movies before Shutter Island and there will certainly be more films after this one. And Shutter Island doesn't even break all that new ground in the concept. If you've seen one, odds are you've seen them all and Shutter Island is no exception. However, Scorsese knows that and is able to make a visually interesting film off of that. There were many times I just wanted to look at how stunningly well-made the movie was and how deliberate Scorsese was when making this film. The subtle, little details make Shutter Island stand out among the rest of the crowd. With a lesser director at the helm, Shutter Island as it is could have easily been terrible.

Twist and Shout

      I say that because, without Scorsese's visual fairly and talent, Shutter Island isn't actually all that great. The biggest problem of this film (Whether deliberate or not) is that twist is so obvious that any person even the least bit Genre Savy could figure out the main twist after watching the feature trailer. I figured out just about every beat, twist and character development in this film within the first thirty minutes and I didn't even stress my brain doing it. Shutter Island is centrally based around this twist, so much so that every character and actor is forced to play so many different faces that the characters become difficult to care about and the acting always feel a bit too much like acting. As well made and thought out as Scorsese made the film, with every scene relating in some way to the film's twist, once the twist is figured out, the rest of the film just isn't interesting enough to make up for the film's long run time  As the film kept on, I wanted more and more for it to just get to the twist already, seeing as how I already knew it and yet the film was still trying to play the mystery card. I was hoping for the film to reveal that I was wrong all along, but instead  it reveal what I knew all along. And what I knew didn't interest me that much. 

That tie is crazy.
The Verdict

      Shutter Island is by no means a bad movie. Director Scorsese does the expected good job at making a visually stunning and well-thought out movie that, while cliched, is still better than most of the other films it so closely shares it's plot with. That said however, a little more inventiveness would have been appreciated  The twist is extremely easy to figure out and because of that, the rest of the film fails to make it any interesting. The characters and story all serve the twist, which if we know it early on enough, makes the rest of the film rather pointless, no matter how well made it is. Shutter Island might be good, but it's not that surprising. Shutter Island gets 3 and a half stars out of 6. And on next week's all-new episode, it's time to rock out.

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