Friday, February 19, 2010

Shutter Island- He said

Once again we have two great names of cinema together, Scorsese and DiCaprio. Last time they made the fantastic The Departed, a movie that just didn’t give two craps about conventional plot lines or the safety of the characters you get to know. In this new movie, they manage to keep you on your toes as to what exactly is going on the whole time and it succeeds in a very unique way without feeling like an M. Night Shamalayan movie. This movie, more important than others, relies on you knowing as little as possible. Even the trailer is cut in a way that the scenes are taken out of context and thus are rendered harmless.

Given this I’m thinking this will be a short review. I will say that all of the actors are in fine form. Leo plays Teddy Daniels, who seems to be the ancestor of his paranoid undercover cop Billy Costigan. Gandhi (please tell me you get the reference) plays a fascinatingly ambiguous doctor, and along with horribly underrated Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Alule they complete a great set of characters. We start out the story as U.S. Marshall Daniels and his new partner, Alule, going to a mental institution trying to figure out the mystery of a missing patient. From the very beginning, you see that things are obviously not what they seem, given that this is an island in a movie, it can’t be normal much like Isla Sonar and Skull Island. And that’s all you need to know to get you going through this trip. The biggest thing that this movie has going on for it is its atmosphere. Scorcese has to be given credit here, his expertly placed shots make you feel so dreadfully through the facility that Teddy’s paranoia feels your own.

The movie does have its problems though. One big glaring one is the almost Saw-type of convenience and coincidence that happens in order for the ending to make sense. There are some times when the movie drags its feet a lot, especially towards the middle of the film. I think this stems from the fact than they spend so much time setting up the creepy vibe of the island that they forget to move the plot along. Given the nature of the movie there are some inconsistencies that can be explained with a stretch of the imagination. This can help you make more sense of the movie if you found it a bit off. But this is left up to the individual, seeing as how my counterpart Jonesy and I got into an unusually heated discussion with radically different points of views.

In the end this movie will benefit from repeated viewings. Given that the Oscars became so saturated with so many movies it was possibly a good thing that it was pushed back; echoes of Silence of the Lambs have been said over at certain movie websites. Not sure if it will win many awards, but it is an elegant form of thriller that you will not find very often. Shutter Island will leave you pretty disturbed after everything becomes revealed, and will make you question what you think about the power of the mind.

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