Shutter Island (2010) (R)















"Shutter Island" is the kind of movie that should work without a hitch. It's got a huge cast, a well-known and respected director, a good premise; yet something is definitely lacking in this thriller. It tried, but it just didn't quite make it.
Teddy Daniel who is a U.S. Marshal and his partner, Chuck Aule, are traveling to a mental hospital located on Shutter Island. Right from the beginning, with the discordant piano chords and the creepy fog, "Shutter Island" is trying too hard. The green screen effects as Teddy is traveling across the sea, getting miserably sick, are blatantly obvious and somewhat contradict this aura of suspense that is supposed to already be established in the first three minutes.
When they arrive on the island they are told that one of the patients has escaped. This patient is particularly "evil", she killed her children and they don't want her on the loose. However, they tell the Marshals that there is no way off the island. So instead of waiting to see if the woman turns up dead or alive, they send Teddy and Chuck on a body scavenger hunt around the island on the verge of a horrific storm. High and low they search but they can't seem to find any evidence that this woman was on the island. There's also the fact of her room—they have no idea how she got out. It seems like she just walked through the walls to her freedom.
The hospital is run by Dr. Cawley who appears to be a contradiction. He renounces the ways that mental patients used to be treated yet Teddy (and the viewer) suspect that he's chaining his more criminal patients into their cells and abusing them in an area that Teddy is not allowed to visit. The doctor denies these allegations and explains that he's just trying to help everyone.
So they continue on their search to find this missing woman.
It's clear that Teddy has a haunted past, he remembers his wife and his time in the war. When he dreams, his wife returns to him and gives him advice on what to do next.
Leonardo DiCaprio seems to really enjoy picking heroes with troubles. Look at "Inception", "Catch Me if You Can", or the best example: "The Aviator". I feel like he should branch out a little bit more but that's just me. He's in full force again in this movie, but what doesn't work is that even though everyone was willing to give it their all, they needed a better script.
The "reveal" of the movie can be spotted a mile away and instead of great third act wrap ups that are crisp and clean, "Shutter Island" just feels like a cold bowl of mushy oatmeal by the end.
Where did it go wrong? Was it the dream sequences when his wife gets blown away in ashes, the predictability of the storm and the reveal, or the fact that Teddy seems to have no end of tragedy in his life? Every time you think that you've seen all there is to Teddy something else is told to us, using flashbacks and you stop feeling sorry for him and start feeling angry towards Laeta Kalogridis for the screenplay.
It tries to be noir/horror, like a slasher version of "Chinatown" but doesn't succeed.
Martin Scorsese has long proven that he is one of the best directors of the current age, but he doesn't hit gold with "Shutter Island". The two-and-a-half hour movie just leaves you feeling unsatisfied and completely goosebump-less.
Although it's well-done and obviously stylish, it lacks a few things—thrills, chills, and satisfaction.


Score: 2 out of 4 stars

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