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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 27.27%
Average: 16.67%
Pretty Bad: 6.06%
Total Crap: 6.06%

6 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Shutter Island
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by William Goss

"One Man Is An Island"
4 stars

From the very start of 'Shutter Island', we find our protagonist all shook up. Federal Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is clinging to the ever-swaying sink of a bathroom on a boat, splashing water on his face and encouraging himself to “pull yourself together.” Something’s amiss with Teddy, but as we soon discover, everything’s amiss with the island itself.

It’s 1954, and Daniels, along with new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), have been sent to the Ashecliffe asylum in Boston Harbor to find out just what happened to a vanished murderess (Emily Mortimer). Her door was locked and her shoes remained, meaning that even if she did escape – the staff didn’t see anything – she’d have a tough time making it across some rocky terrain and onto the very ferry that these two lawmen arrived on. Of course, no one’s going to make the ferry with the massive storm that’s bearing down on the island, which means that Daniels and Aule are stuck there with doctors (including Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow) every bit as menacing as the patients and a mystery too personal for Teddy to ignore.

Martin Scorsese, as masterful a craftsman as any working today, certainly relishes a chance to do foreboding without launching all the way into camp as he had with his Cape Fear remake. His go-to cinematographer, Robert Richardson, captures all sorts of eerie hallucinations and creaky halls with an impeccable lens, in turn doing justice to Dante Ferretti’s incredibly lush production design and complementing Robbie Robertson’s equally melancholic and moody compilation of previously recorded music. Scorsese standby Thelma Schoonmaker does her part to make a dense film move and an aggressively unstable atmosphere even more so (although I struggle to believe that the handful of glaring continuity errors that have made it to the screen were entirely intentional or are entirely excusable given the eventual plot developments).

However, the burden of belief rests squarely on DiCaprio’s shoulders, and although his Boston accent is exaggerated at times to the point of distraction, he conveys the necessary balance of determination and vulnerability to earn the film’s eventual emotional impact. To say much more about what’s in store would be criminal, but it also makes it difficult for me to explain how nimble the performances of Kingsley, Ruffalo, von Sydow, Mortimer, Jackie Earle Haley, Patricia Clarkson, John Carroll Lynch and – above all – Michelle Williams are.

Many were eager to display a dismissive attitude towards the film before it even opened, the inevitable result of a reveal-happy marketing campaign and a brag-happy moviegoing mentality. While it may seem apparent early on just what it going on at Shutter Island, I found the what of the ending neither as fascinating as the how and why. I couldn’t shake off the sorrow behind the scares, and for my money, that quality is enough to elevate a well-crafted if far-fetched thriller into something a bit more haunting.

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originally posted: 02/27/10 06:28:15
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User Comments

10/05/18 morris campbell good atmosphere corny twist ending 3 stars
12/01/12 roscoe good, atmospheric, but never delivers and there's noi pay off. 4 stars
8/28/11 R.W. Welch Nicely spooky atmosphere, tho a little too labyrinthian. 4 stars
3/07/11 Duke Disturbing Spectacle with a predicatable plot. 1 stars
1/14/11 Monday Morning Shallow story but incredible art direction. 4 stars
11/06/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Strong mystery/drama. Kind of reminded me of Fuller 5 stars
9/17/10 Stephanie This movie was crazy. I feel like I need to see it like 3 times. 4 stars
8/25/10 mr.mike Demands a second viewing. 4 stars
7/21/10 Fred Hollow and ultimately unsatisfying, flat 2 stars
6/11/10 othree Empty, hyped, usual DiCaprio, Wright brothers' flew better 3 stars
5/24/10 Pienaar What the heel did I just see? A total waste of time. 1 stars
3/28/10 yiannisz predictable..overacted..emphasis only on visuals... 2 stars
3/21/10 Langano Very good film. Last seen leaves you thinking. 4 stars
3/03/10 Stanley Thai Scorsese manages to put all of the puzzle pieces together without cheating the audience. 4 stars
3/02/10 NFD Incredible, truly haunting film. Easily better than anything else out there. 5 stars
2/28/10 Brian Mckay Previews gave too much away, ending predictable. 3 stars
2/27/10 Dave Very disappointing. Total crap in fact. 1 stars
2/27/10 NicoSardonica This film is a mind screw, in the best sense you can imagine. Not for idiots. 5 stars
2/26/10 Rob What came first? The gimmick or the story? 4 stars
2/26/10 Anonymous Horrible trash. Just like your mother. 1 stars
2/26/10 Al The last 1/2 hour makes the first 2 hours nonsensical 3 stars
2/25/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Sort of a remake of "The cabinet of Dr. Caligari". 4 stars
2/24/10 jeff m Way to long, the flash back thing got old fast, not scary at all. 3 stars
2/23/10 Linda Morrison I felt tricked, which almost spoiled an otherwise engaging film. 4 stars
2/21/10 M Predictable, only downfall. 4 stars
2/21/10 Jeff Best movie I saw this year, so far. 5 stars
2/21/10 amy lockmer the finish left me feeling as though I am still waiting for the ending. 4 stars
2/20/10 Adrian Awesome movie that must be seen twice! Warning: Do not watch on LSD. 5 stars
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  19-Feb-2010 (R)
  DVD: 08-Jun-2010


  DVD: 08-Jun-2010

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