Saturday, 13 March 2010

Another Scorsese/DiCaprio masterpiece!..'Shutter Island'

Film: Shutter Island (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Plot: Drama is set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding on the remote Shutter Island.

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Michelle Williams.


Shutter Island has been one of the most highly anticipated films of last year, not only is it directed by America's greatest living film maker (Martin Scorsese) it seemed like it was never going to make it to the big screen after delay after delay in the film's post production. Luckily Shutter Island is finally here and boy was it worth the wait!

Scorsese's films are consistently full of the same themes and philosophies, his central characters are nearly always driven by the pressures of their environment and their own inner turmoil. He also, like no other filmmaker, draws his audience into the world he's created on screen, he grabs you from the word go and doesn't let go until the very end and in 'Shutter Island' he is on top form.

It is no doubt that when Scorsese went about making his horror/thriller about two U.S Marshalls investigating a disappearance on a remote island for the criminally insane that he had a vision of the old studio noirs from the 40s and 50s. The blaring intruding (in a good way) soundtrack is unnerving enough before we've even got to the true horrors of the island, and as soon as we arrive on the island the paranoia kicks in and doesn't let up until the truth is known.

'Shutter Island' feels very much like Orson Welles's 'The Lady From Shanghai' meets 'The Shining' if one is forced to describe a film that really must be seen to be believed. Many of the camera angles are extreme over head or low shots, in a pure Wellesian manor the camera is suggesting that nothing is as it should be.

Dicaprio has never been as good as this before, in his role as Teddy Daniels his sanity is tested beyond the extremes of the imagination. He portrays a great intensity and passion that makes his character so tragic and likable. From the moment his character is on screen it is obvious that he is on edge and something has been eating him for sometime, through the use of flashbacks showing Teddy serving in World War Two it soon becomes clear why.

It is in one of these flashbacks that holds one of the most memorable scenes of the Holocaust since 'Schindler's List'.

The supporting cast is excellent, especially Sir Ben Kingsley who never disappoints in his roles. Everyone does a great job in not letting the audience trust them. Like Travis Bickle in 'Taxi Driver' Scorsese once again takes us into the head of a troubled individual who is being tormented by his surroundings. In this film it is Shutter Island and not the streets of New York and not Travis but Teddy who we must be tormented with.

This sees the forth collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese and 'Shutter Island' could very well be their strongest offering. It sees Scorsese taking on new material in the 'horror' genre but he does it so well that one wishes he took it on more often, like in 'Cape Fear' you can cut the tension with a knife!


'Shutter Island' is some of the best work of all involved, everyone is on top form. Thelma Schoonmaker's precision and freestyle editing works even more effectively than ever before, Robert Richardson's cinematography helps set the mood as much as anything else and is stunning beyond that. The film starts as a thriller and keeps transcending itself until the end, it is a journey into the heart of darkness and ends up being completed with one line of dialogue that is as heartbreaking as it is true. Go see this film, and then see it again!


  1. Scorcese seems to have settled with a youthful replacement for De Niro, who appeals to the younger generation. It seems to work, so good on them! It would be fantastic to see both of these great actors in a Scorcese flick to please all generaton of audiences and to make it kick ass.

    This movie seems promising, it's great to see Scorcese experimenting, and I do love a good Horror/Thriller. His movies have always been brilliantly suspenseful no matter what kind of movie it is, he is a master of film making.

    Keep up the great work Joe, I always trust your opinions when it comes to movies.


  2. Cheers Amer!

    Yeh the partnership of Scorsese and DiCaprio works very well and im sure that 'Shutter Island' won't be the last time they work together.
    I am praying for the day DeNiro returns though as he just isnt making exciting movies anymore, he's always great though!

    Yep your dead right that Scorsese is a master filmmaker, check out this film if you can as you really shouldnt miss something this good, if you're a bit pushed for cash i'd recommend hunting down a copy of 'Cape Fear' if you've never seen it...great thriller!

    Cheers for taking an interest, and i'll happily discuss or argue over a movie on my blog with you anytime.

    Have you seen 'There Will Be Blood' yet?