Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo
From the opening shot of the ferry coming out of the fog, you know this is going to be a masterpiece of film-making from Scorsese. I’ve personally had my ups and downs with him, he can be mediocre in my opinion, but when he is brilliant, he truly is brilliant. Scorsese assembled an enviable cast of actors for this film. While that in itself is always a bonus, without a skilled and talented director (as has been seen numerous timed over the years) it is not a guaranteed recipe for success.
Each actor and actress is perfectly cast here. Ben Kingsley as the Doctor is suitably creepy, Max Von Sydow is his usual evil looking self and Emily Mortimer is brilliant in her small role. The acting is second to none and every single one immerses you into the story. The film is beautifully shot and each location is filled with the just the right amount of light, shadows and suspense. The script by Laeta Kalogridis, adapted from the brilliant novel by Dennis Lehane is tight and never meanders, always holding your interest.
US Marshal Teddy Daniels (another Oscar-worthy performance from DiCaprio) awakens on a ferry. Disorientated and suffering from sea-sickness, he heads outside to meet his new partner Chuck (Ruffalo). They have been assigned to investigate an escaped ‘patient’ from Shutter Island, an institution for the criminally insane. As soon as they embark onto the island they are met by the deputy warden, and straight away things appear to be not as they seem.
Met with a lack of cooperation and stuck on the island due to a vicious storm, Daniels and Chuck try to investigate how the patient escaped. But is everything really as it seems? It’s a little difficult to go into more details as there are so many little twists and red herrings that it would be easy to give everything away for anyone who has not seen the film or read the book. Suffice to say that the film will take you on a mystery filled ride.
Once everything is wrapped up, the ending is certainly up for debate and repeated viewing is a must. If this was made in Italy and in the seventies it would have made a brilliant Giallo. The setting is perfect and Scorsese really makes it a menacing atmosphere with his direction of the story. A film that requires repeated viewing to truly get the best from it.
The Sage’s Rating: 9/10