Scorsese spooks spectators with Shutter Island

Posted on December 4, 2011

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2/25/10-Martin Scorsese is a powerhouse in the film industry. His career stretches all the way back to the 1970s and it is filled with amazing films that have achieved a massive cult following and have garnered universal critical acclaim.

Scorsese’s movies usually contain a detailed story that focuses on crime and occasionally the moral scruples of the people involved, such as in Casino and The Departed.

Despite producing and directing numerous character-driven studies that are centered in New York City or Boston, his newest film, Shutter Island,  strays a bit from his typical formula, but it is still enjoyable and worth the attention.

Shutter Island is based off of a novel written by Dennis Lehane. The story is about two U.S. Marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), who are sent out to Shutter Island in the middle of the Boston harbor to investigate a mental patient’s mysterious disappearance.

As they arrive on the island, Teddy and Chuck are led up to Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane where the disappearance took place. A vicious storm descends upon the island, cutting off all communication. Teddy begins to investigate and discovers a mysterious conspiracy involving the Nazis and Cold War paranoia.

As he seeks further information, his sanity comes into question, which leads to a slightly predictable—but still intense and entertaining—twist ending.

DiCaprio has not been seen on screen since Body of Lies, but his acting skills are better than ever. His Bostonian accent is perfect and never comes off as fake or forced. He utilizes subtle cues (various tics, like an eye twitch) that help the audience begin to question Teddy Daniels’s state of mind.

Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of the leading psychologist, Dr. Cawley, adds to the mind-bending elements of the film because Cawley exudes a sense of duplicity that impedes the investigation but also is able to appear jovial and helpful in matters that have no connection to the disappearance.

He invites the Marshals over for dinner, but when they delve into the vanishing of the patient he tries to psychoanalyze them to reveal their secrets.

Mark Ruffalo’s character is given little time to develop except in the beginning and in the end, which is unfortunate because he is a talented actor. But, overall, I had no real problems with this movie.

This “crazy” new thriller is certainly worth the price of admission since February does not have many new arrivals for next weekend.

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