Film Review: Shutter Island

Often, Martin Scorsese makes it all better. Every now and again, tired of the incessant remakes, sequels and sub-par star vehicles, one longs for a bit of quality in mainstream Hollywood cinema. It seems that Mr Scorsese has heard our cries, as Shutter Island is a thoroughly enjoyable film, reinstating a degree of quality missing from many other recent films.

Granted, the film not an entirely original affair; it is based on Dennis Lehane novel of the same name. However, Scorsese’s picture is an exceptionally well crafted suspense thriller. Whilst perhaps not being on quite the same level as some of the director’s earlier work, it nonetheless harks back to the Classical Hollywood thriller, popularised by Hitchcock and others.

Shutter Island tells the story of a US marshal and his partner who visit an island inhabited solely by a hospital for the criminally insane. Originally called to investigate the disappearance of a patient, their inquiry uncovers something deeper…

Leonardo DiCaprio gives a compelling performance as the marshal haunted by the death of his wife and the atrocities he witnessed whilst serving during World War II. Shutter Island features many of the Scorsese hallmarks, although this time the persistent theme of psychology and the frailty of sanity is brought right to the forefront.

As ever, Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing is on point. The production design, particularly of Ward C, is excellent. The editing, cinematography, design, and the jittering score combine wonderfully to generate an atmosphere of trepidation throughout the duration.

Perhaps the one downside is that the ending may be disappointing for some viewers. However, for over two hours Scorsese grips the audience with this immensely absorbing thriller.

One comment

  • I saw this and I knew what to expect going in to the film as I had already read about half of the book but never got the chance to finish it. But I was surprised at how faithful the film was to the original material.The directing was also masterfully done and pretty cool I saw some cool camera tricks I hadn’t seen since Martin Scorsese directed Bringing Out The Dead, Martin Scorsese did one great job and everyone was top notch especially Ben Kingsley and DiCaprio and I never though I would jump out of fright especially in a Scorsese film but I did. All in all a solid thriller with a good story and some great performances and for me it’s the best film I’ve seen in 2010 so far.

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