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Shutter Island (2010) Movie Review

February 20, 2010

“Shutter Island” is a psychological thriller directed by Martin Scorsese.  By now if you watch TV or go to the theaters, its likely you have seen a trailer.  The movie was originally going to be released in October of 2009 but was delayed for financial reasons.  By the time I went to see the movie, I had seen the trailer so many times that I was starting to get annoyed whenever it was shown.  This is mostly a result of aggressive marketing coupled with the delay.  The biggest question anyone like myself had was, “Is this movie going to be as good as the trailer makes it look?”  In a word, yes.

If you were already excited by the trailers, I suggest you skip the next paragraph because I find it difficult to convey the story of the movie in my typical spoiler-free fashion.

The story begins from the perspective of US Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio).  He is on his way to investigate the disappearance of a patient at a mental hospital on Shutter Island.  As he investigates, he starts to see flashbacks of his past that are initially short and cryptic.  The events in the flashbacks are almost all explained before the end of the movie.  Daniels encounters numerous doctors and patients during his stay, most notably Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley).  After some time, the initial beliefs of his purpose and even his identity are brought into question by a strange string of occurrences.

Leonardo DiCaprio is the main focus of the story with Ben Kingsley on screen quite a bit as well.  I am a fan of both actors.  They were at the top of their game in the movie, especially Leonardo DiCaprio who conveys a number of different emotions and faces at various points of the movie.  The music of the movie is used wonderfully.  From what I understood by the lack of composer credit, all the music in the movie was previously composed classical work.  However, it is used so well to complement the movie and add to the audience’s sense of tension and discord that it seems to have been written completely for the film.  The opening sequence of the film makes especially good use of the music as it escalates in between short dialog sequences.

“Shutter Island” isn’t as scary as it may appear from the trailer but there are some graphic images of blood and other disturbing images that may frighten some viewers.  The movie maintains its tension from beginning to end thanks to some wonderfully executed twists and turns in the story as things are revealed to both the audience and the main character.  If you enjoy intellectual thrillers and are intrigued by the trailer’s dark imagery and tone, you absolutely cannot miss your chance to see “Shutter Island” in the theater.  It is likely to be a contender for best horror film of the year.

4.5/5

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From → Drama, Horror

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