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Film Review Shutter Island

A missing patient on an islan asylum investigated by the FBI with an over-hyped twist that many viewers will see coming right from the outset.


Spoiler Alerts

A Martin Scorsese movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, with elements of crime drama and horror elements thrown in sounds an almost perfect mix.  The film also made much hype of its major twist ending.

The problem is that many people saw the ending coming before the detectives even reach the Alcatraz like Shutter Island asylum for the criminally insane. Movies like Shock Corridor and The Ninth Configuration have touched on the same basic premise – the investigator himself is one of the crazy people he is investigating.

Despite its big surprise being no such thing, Shutter Island is very well acted, especially by DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley (who runs the island).  There is a distinct 1950’s feel to the film, in its dark Gothic cloudy atmosphere, trilby wearing FBI agents, and clenched jaw acting.

DiCaprio’s own traumas are spelt out in his escalating haunting visions throughout the film. He was a witness to the liberation of a Concentration Camp in Europe at the close of WW2 and saw the aftermath of some of the atrocities there. As if his distress over that was not enough to drive him to the edge of his sanity, he discovers that his already crazed wife has drowned his three children. He murders her and finally snaps. The whole set up at Shutter Island is an elaborate role-playing game to save him from potentially being lobotomised.

Quite why he would be considered worthy of an entire island scale fortress set up and team of medics and actors in his treatment when others are not is never made clear. The sheer unlikiliness of the premise and the need to pile trauma after trauma on the lead actor to break him makes the film seem rather over-stretched to put it mildly but it is entertaining hokum. The film did very well at the box office. 

Arthur Chappell

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User Comments
  1. lauralu

    On September 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Good review I saw it didn’t much like it though

  2. lauralu

    On September 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Good review I saw it didn\’t much like it though.

  3. lauralu

    On September 21, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Good review I saw it didn’t much like it though.

  4. jennyreeve

    On September 21, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I have yet to see this. Good review. like De Caprio usually, so I hope this movie does not let me down.

  5. Martin Kloess

    On September 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Well written, thank you. And thank you for your support.

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