Friday, February 19, 2010

Review - Shutter Island (2010)

“Keep it together Teddy.”

Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo
Screenplay: Laeta Kalogridis & Steven Knight

U.S Marshalls Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Raffalo) come to Shutter Island to deal with the disappearance of a patient from the Ashecliffe Institute for the Criminally Insane. What should be a simple investigation is hampered by Dr John Cawley (Ben Kingsley) and his staff who appear to be keeping a secret. All is not as it seems.

My mind is completely blown by this movie; what could have been a somewhat run of a mill mystery is turned into something else, something grander thanks to Martin Scorsese. It all begins with the ferry trip to the island, were we are introduced to Teddy Daniels who is already off centre thanks to a severe case of sea sickness. Like Teddy small little things start happening to the film which make us question if what we are seeing is really happening. It’s hard to describe what I truly went through with this movie so I think I’ll start at the easiest place.

Acting wise Leonardo yet again shows people why he is one of the best actors around town, while being given able support thanks to Mark Ruffalo. Ben Kingsley also finally sheds the recent string of crap he has done and rises to the occasion. Sometimes the decisions of some actors make us forget how great they can be. Yet again credit has to go to Mr Scorsese; he knows exactly what he wants from his actors and the interplay between the characters is crucial to a film like this. Plot sometimes has to be told through subtleties.

Now on to the harder to define factor of this movie. The way this movie is edited, sound mixed, lighted, framed etc is tightly controlled and I swear that the movie was playing tricks with me. Some scenes the sounds didn’t seem to match what was being shown, sometimes it seemed some sounds were negated all together. Editing might be considered sloppy because cuts don’t match but it’s not, this is all part of the game Scorsese is playing. He wants to throw the viewer off, he wants them right there along with Teddy and the madness that is in the institute.

This style that Scorsese employs could be a turn off to some people. When things don’t match up people do have a tendency to just ignore, wanting to sweep it away and get to the end. I was just put on edge and developed a real empathy with the character of Teddy Daniels. The atmosphere, the cinema techniques, I was on a ride and loved every minute of it.

At the end of the day every element came together and has produced a very unique film. I plan on purchasing it on DVD so I can go back and try and find all the tricks Scorsese used. Even though people might be turned off I still have to recommend this movie. It’s damn good.
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