Friday, February 19, 2010

Shutter Island

What I love about Martin Scorsese is that he is a master of the vibrant and complex just as much as he is a master of the subtle; when he’s at his best you get this all in one movie. Shutter Island is one of those movies.

This time out Martin Scorsese weaves the tale of Teddy Daniels, a Federal Marshall who’s lost his wife in tragedy and volunteers for assignment investigating Shutter Island’s escape. Shutter Island is an institution for the criminally insane, and Daniels thinks there is more going on inside it’s fences than they broadcast to the world. Scorsese sets out to create a complex, taunt, psychological thriller that reminds on of Hitchcock in its dexterity and pace.

Leonardo DiCaprio has long since replaced Robert DeNiro as Scorsese’s muse and I have to say his talent truly gets better with every film. Teddy Daniels is a character that cannot have been easy to understand or play. He’s a former soldier who helped liberate the death camps in WWII, he’s a husband who lost his wife, he’s a man fighting the very nature that’s inside of him because of the atrocities he’s seen in his life – DiCaprio becomes the man. DiCaprio has slowly progressed to this point, like all truly great actors he now ceases being any part of himself on screen and replaces himself with the character. As you watch DiCaprio you almost think you can hear the thoughts racing through Teddy Daniels head and see the motives for his actions just under the surface.

What makes Shutter Island a film that truly deserves being a Scorsese film is the interplay of stunning visuals, extreme situations and strong character. Shutter Island is tricky, because in a very beautiful way it is about the obvious and the subtle all at once. This is a film that isn’t really about the ending, or the last act as one might think. Shutter Island is a film about the last line of dialogue that DiCaprio delivers; if you don’t understand what he tells you, then you won’t understand the film.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Laeta Kalogridis
Teddy Daniels: Leonardo DiCaprio
Chuck Aule: Mark Ruffalo
Dr. Crawley: Ben Kingsley
Dr. Naehring: Max Von Sydow
Dolores: Michelle Williams
George Noyce: Jackie Earle Haley

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