Friday, 12 March 2010

Shutter Island

Undeniably captivating ...

Taking on the case of a mysterious disappearance of a patient in a hospital for those who are criminally insane, US Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) attempt to investigate a rather absurd escape. With the help of the head psychiatrist Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley), Teddy and Chuck attempt to unravel how a patient, named Rachael Solando (Emily Mortimer), was able to completely vanish from the confines of her locked room.

Shutter Island begins with a brooding image of a ferry making its way through some heavy fog, and it is the very enigmatic nature of the scene which claws its way throughout the narrative till the thought provoking conclusion. This becomes far more evident when many scenes and symbolic gestures in the film are soaked in a hint of polysemy. Of course this would not work without a very engaging storyline and Shutter Island makes for an exciting, and never dull, thriller. This is mostly achieved through the narratives pacing being quite consistent throughout for the film never felt like it was dragging. That said, it can be a little disorientating when the narrative decides its time to bombard information upon Teddy, and the viewer, in an attempt to guide the film to the mystery of Rachael Solando's escape. The film is by no means overly complicated but if you lose track of the information which these certain scenes attempt to convey, the films real twist can appear somewhat disjointed even if it is to an extent predictable.

The narrative is only heightened by a group of actors who do a convincing job of representing their respective characters. The character of Teddy is easily the most important and DiCaprio does a great job of conveying the character's need to find the truth while battling the guilt over the horrors of his own past life. Kingsley provides a wonderful performance as the head psychiatrist on the island who wishes to rehabilitate the mentally ill instead of resorting to measures such as lobotomy. He has a restrained and calm manner which exudes his character's intellectual capability. Ruffalo provides good support to DiCaprio, as he assumes the role of the concerned and eager to help partner. The entire supporting cast, involving the likes of Ted Levine and Elias Koteas, to name a few, all perform at their best to assure that Shutter Island feels highly believable, though it is just a pity that some of them only appear for a few minutes. This does result in Teddy being the only character with any real emotional appeal outside the intellectual nature of the film.

The filming style by Martin Scorsese is an absolute wonder, especially the final scene, as he utilises varying techniques in order to construct the web of events into something meaningful but abstract. Some techniques could appear unusable in modern films but they nevertheless work to enhance the film. Another good addition to the cinematography is how a few stylised camera sequences are used on single occasions allowing the film to constantly remain fresh. The computer imagery which accompanies the work is of a generally high standard with some beautifully rendered scenes enhanced by the Gothic atmosphere. Still, the computer imagery is not entirely top tier material with some scenes lacking the polish of others.

There is no sex in the film though nudity does make an appearance in one scene of a couple of seconds showing some male genitalia. Violence is largely in the form of Teddy's memories which involve soldiers being gunned down and blood appearing in large pools, both for realistic deaths and for artistic reasons. Dead bodies are shown throughout, some with bloody results, and involve adults and children. Language is contained mostly to F-words and blasphemy. Neither overpower the film and are sporadically placed through the plus 2 hour run time, yet the blasphemy can come across as slightly more excessive then required.

Shutter Island culminates into a fascinating outlook on how truth can be both liberating and destructive. This is achieved through a combination of a tight and absorbing narrative; superb acting performances; and a film style that enhances the Gothic atmosphere required for the thematic depth to be appreciated. The film does lose some footing with the odd narrative hiccup; some slight graphical issues; and a lack of emotional pull from the general characters for some part of the film. Nevertheless, Shutter Island is an intelligently taut thriller which allows its viewers to ultimately invest in its characters and story while providing ample entertainment.

9/10

Screen date: 12 March 2010
Release date: 12 March 2010

3 comments:

Emanuel said...

Sorry, but this movie is lame. Full of errors (LOTS), mediocre acting, awfull music, etc...

2/10

CruizD said...

I'm not too sure where all these errors you say there are come from.

I hardly believe its a 2/10 film, but its too bad you didn't enjoy it :)

free tv show downloads said...

The film is full of flashbacks and haunting dream sequences that range in location from the island itself to the concentration camp at Dachau. The audience is constantly trapped in a world where one questions what is reality and what is dream. Don't miss this one!