Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Movie Review: "Shutter Island"

I'm abandoning the bullet points treatment for this review, because this film deserves better than that. I'm also going to do my best not to spoil the movie, but inevitably minor spoilers might ooze their way through. The main premise of the film entails two U.S. Marshals investigating the disappearance of a female patient from Shutter Island, a mental health facility for the most dangerous criminals in the country. Once they arrive, the weather goes to shit, and all hell breaks loose, as things are not quite as they seem.

Alright, that's enough of a set-up, now let me say: I really really enjoyed this movie, and while it did drag at parts, it was thoroughly entertaining, and for the most part, kept me on the edge of my seat. Given one's cliched ideas about these types of movies, this could have been a really terrible slasher type flick, had it been directed by Rob Zombie, and starred some fucktard from "Jersey Shore" and the recent runner-up from American Idol. Alas, this Scorcese/DiCaprio collaboration, and for two and a half hours, encaptures you within the world that they have created, using dreams to help advance the storyline, adding to the sense of confusion, and constantly causing yourself to doubt what you previously believed to be true.

"Shutter Island" is not particularly "scary", or at least not as much as I expected, or the trailers would suggest, but it is definitely creepy as hell, all set up by the camerawork, and the visuals, which are unrelenting in their gloominess and capturing the seclusion from the outside world. Additionally there are a few scenes, which strike fear into the audience without a gun being fired, or an axe being wielded. Scorcese is able to capture fear, and pull you into his sick world, and fuck with your mind just as the characters in the film are suffering. Ultimately, just like the last Scorcese/DiCaprio collaboration "The Departed", this film is about deception, and the struggle to understand and capture the truth. The films forces you to put your thinking caps on, and is unrelenting in destroying your preconceived notions about truth and reality. While not perfect in its editing, and somewhat ill-paced, "Shutter Island" is a fantastic film that will take your mind and severely fuck with it, up until the final frame. It's the type of movie that you have to see again, and will be thinking about, discussing, and will stay with you long after the film.

Grade: A-

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