Reviewed by: Ethan Samuel Rodgers
|Featuring:||Leonardo DiCaprio (Teddy Daniels), Mark Ruffalo (Chuck Aule), Ben Kingsley (Dr. John Cawley), Emily Mortimer (Rachel Solando), Michelle Williams (Dolores Chanal), Max von Sydow (Dr. Jeremiah Naehring), Patricia Clarkson (Ethel Barton), Jackie Earle Haley (George Noyce), See all »|
|Producer:||Paramount Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, Sikelia Productions, Appian Way, Chris Brigham, Chris Brigham, Brad Fischer, Amy Herman, Laeta Kalogridis, Dennis Lehane, Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer, Gianni Nunnari, Louis Phillips, Joseph P. Reidy, Martin Scorsese, Emma Tillinger|
“Someone is missing.”
It’s certainly not a horror film, nor is quite a thriller. It’s not a drama, nor is it truly a mystery. “Shutter Island,” the latest film from Academy Award Winning Director Martin Scorsese, is really best described as a long walk, or a 138 minute run time, for a short drink of water, or in Shutter’s case, a simple and less than satisfying ending.
Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a U.S. Marshall who has been appointed to investigate the escape of a patient from a mental hospital for the criminally insane. With the hospital located on a small island and surrounded by miles of cold Atlantic water and rock bluffs, she is presumed to be hiding or dead. But as Daniels digs deeper into the case, he finds more secrets and perhaps more truth about the island and himself than he ever wanted to find.
Considering its pedigree, “Shutter…” was fairly dissatisfying. Coming from a director as talented as Scorsese, one expects a little more. The elements were all there: the camera angles, the stylized dark noir-esque scenes, and, of course, DiCaprio as the lead. But there were many elements that missed the mark. The musical score was overly dramatic, as violins pounded and shrieked relentlessly during calm car rides and walks through the hospital grounds. Dialogue was confusing in places, almost nonsensical and humorous in others, and Mark Ruffalo was, as usual, underwhelming in his supporting role, adding little to the on screen chemistry as DiCaprio’s partner throughout the ordeal.
The film’s biggest downfall is that it was simply too long for the message it had. Muddled in Scorsese’s ramblings and story telling, the whole ordeal felt like stumbling down an all too familiar psychological path en route to a bogged down dénouement. The conclusion which we’re presented as an audience is simply not enough to justify sitting for more than two hours, and exacts a “that’s it?” response from those who have been waiting attentively for a shocker ending that no one will expect. Unfortunately, your gut instinct as to what’s really going on is probably correct from minute 1.
30 to 40 profanities litter the script of “Shutter Island”, and can get quite coarse in some places, including 16 f-words and over 15 misuses of God’s names. Disturbing images are perhaps your biggest deterrent as various scenes of German death camps, dying or dead children, and graphic hallucinations of death and murder are ever present and quite realistic. There’s little sexual aspect to speak of, although there is a scene where Daniels descends into the cellar of part of the hospital and sees men who have been caged, and conceivably tortured, and are also nude.
“Shutter Island” certainly has Scorsese’s fingerprints all over it, but I feel as though he focused too much on the telling of the story, adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane, rather than the conclusion. The story itself needed one more twist, not another overly dramatic walk down a long dimly lit hallway. It needed one final shock, not another seemingly meaningless dialogue exchange that we’re not meant to “get” until the end. “Shutter…” ultimately needed a moment of inspiration in its final 15 minutes to be more than just another thriller, but instead it was more an absurdly long hallucination or drug-trip accentuated by flashing scene transitions, gruesome and stylized images, and redundant and overly frequent dream sequences.
Ultimately, “Shutter Island” will certainly make you quiver, maybe even wince, but there’s little to shutter about in this mediocre, shockless, twistless disappointment.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy to Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
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