Monday, February 22, 2010

Shutter Island [2009]
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding on the remote Shutter Island.

I went into this with fairly minimal expectations. Other than 'Casino', i've never been much of a Scorsese fan, 'Shutter Island' though seemed like it could be a decent thriller judging by the trailers, so i gave it a go.

Although i knew the film wasn't going to be "scary" per se, the trailer did make me think i was going to be in for a film that could make my spine tingle a little. Unfortunately, i quickly realized i had misjudged the film. There was nothing "eerie" or "scary" about the film or the island the characters inhabited, so i was a little disappointed with that. The film does have a strong sense of "danger" in it though, so there was good use of tension in some of the moments throughout the movie. Sometimes though, they did get bogged down by clunky pacing which rears it's head a little too much throughout the story. Atmospherically, i would have liked something a little stronger as well.

There was an obvious Kubrick inspiration in the films look and sound. The music was strong and foreboding [similar to The Shining], and fit the setting well. The movie also had a strong visual style that i enjoyed, though i do think it fell a little flat during the dream sequences. I wasn't feeling very "transported" during those parts, especially the scene involving Dicaprio's character and his wife in their apartment. I felt as if i was supposed to be getting a strong emotional impact during that scene, and it didn't do much for me. The flashbacks worked better i think. As much as i enjoyed the overall score and cinematography, it did feel a little ripped off. The Shining just kept popping up in my head over and over.

What stood out the most for me was the acting by the ENTIRE cast. Everyone from the main cast members to the minor roles by mental patients really kept me interested in what was going on. A lot of familiar lesser known actors show up throughout the story, all of them being very memorable. Mark Ruffalo, who i don't mind as an actor, did well, but seemed slightly bored when compared to everyone else. Ben Kingsly and Dicaprio were great as usual, especially Dicaprio who completely embodies his character.

As the film drew closer to it's end, i thought i would rate it 2.5, but as the "twist" unfolded and as the story came full circle, i decided to jump it up to a 3. The final section of the film, especially the disturbing flashback sequence and Dicaprio's character finding the "truth" really showcased each of the main cast members abilities as actors. Ben Kingsly especially had me completely hypnotized during the final scenes, trying to convince Dicaprio's character of what was really going on. The very last scene where Dicaprio makes his "choice" was also a great way to end the movie.

It was an enjoyable enough paranoid thriller, that was elevated by a fantastic cast and strong final act. The story did get a little convoluted in parts though, and i did feel the movie could have packed a bit more of a punch both in story and tone. Overall though, i can't help but feel like it all fell slightly flat as a complete package. Certainly watchable, but give me something like The Shining [which it wanted to be] over this any day.

Wait for DVD.


Anonymous said...

c ing it 2 nite.

Anomaly said...

Enjoy :)

Anonymous said...

Boots done, he stayed seated, staring at the brightly colored rug beneath his feet. With one last pat on Erikins arm, she left them to climb the staircase alone. Colors bled, and the stone trees melted into the floating water of the stream. He really was afraid. She would not cause that fear tonight. She gave him a shy smile. Im looking forward to seeing the spell myself. Just remember what She told you. Nialdlye stood to one side, directing. Eyrhaen bobbed her head, loose hair falling forward over her shoulders. He smiled at her glare, the red simmering behind the hazel of his eyes. She threw another pillow, this time at Lanthan. What do you say, Eyrie? Both Brevin and Tykir burst out laughing. When hed had his fill and shed somewhat subsided, he rose to his knees. She turned her head to find Tykirs soft lips. The sapling, was it your idea? In the time shed had with them, Eyrhaen had been a main point of discussion. I wouldnt want to deny you. How could I deny such a lovely request?

Anomaly said...