If you're looking for a movie for your home DVD collection, you owe it to yourself to check out Shutter Island. It boasts an all-star cast, gorgeous cinematography and excellent production quality; but most importantly it's a tremendously well-written story that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
Story Line (No Spoilers)
U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is investigating the disappearance of a convicted murder locked up at a prison-style hospital for the criminally insane. The year is 1954, and Daniels is still struggling with the loss of his wife, not to mention a few demons related to his experiences fighting the Nazi Army in World War II. He learns that the man who killed his wife was secretly sent to Shutter Island, and when the case regarding a missing woman on the same island comes across his desk, he jumps on it.
Daniels, accompanied by first-time partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), begins investigating the odd isolated island, looking for any clues of the missing woman. But the deeper Daniels digs, the more bizarre the island, the patients and even the doctors become. It seems as though the staff is hiding something sinister, that they're covering up shadowy details. But of what? Murder? Secret government experiments? Dangerous mind-controlling drugs? Daniels is determined to find out.
But he could never anticipate what he discovers. The chilling, twisted secret of Shutter Island is more menacing that he could have ever imagined.
If you're looking for a film that will grab your attention by its throat and not let go until the credits start rolling (and even then, there's a good chance you'll still be thinking about it long after), Shutter Island could be the best two hours you'll spend in front of your television.
Cast And Crew
Shutter Island boasts and incredibly talented group of actors and crew, including:
- Leonardo DiCaprio
- Mark Ruffalo
- Ben Kingsley
- Max Von Sydow
- Michelle Williams
- Many More
The film was directed by screen legend Martin Scorsese, the mastermind behind some of Hollywood's most successful endeavors. Scorsese and DiCaprio, who have collaborated on several blockbuster films in recent years, including "The Departed" and "The Aviator," are quickly becoming one of Tinsel Town's finest pairs, deserving of a place next to some of the more established pairings such as Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. The two have developed a relationship that brings out the best of both of them, and you can feel the creativity oozing from every frame.
Not to mention that Leonardo DiCaprio delivers one of his best performances ever, and the always-amazing Mark Ruffalo is perfect as DiCaprio's mysterious partner. Is he there to help? Is he part of the conspiracy? His powerful performance will keep you guessing until the very end.
Here Are Just A Few Reasons Why You'll Love Shutter Island:
- Amazingly Well-Written Script. It's based upon a bestselling book by the same name. The dialogue and characters are impressively developed, and the setting is immaculately descriptive.
- World Class Performances. There are no weak links in this cast, from the lead characters to the tiniest supporting roles, each actor gives a performance worthy of an award.
- Surprise Ending. Most of us have come to expect surprise endings in modern cinema, but these one goes way beyond the norm. Sure you'll be expecting a twist, but not this one.
- Gorgeous Production Quality. Shutter Island looks like art. From the camera angles, to the direction, to the costuming, to the set design, to the props and everything else in between, this movie is of the very highest quality. Just as the cast is stacked with proven performers, so too is the behind-the-scenes crew. And don't forget about the magnificent editing; the pacing is perfect and the cuts are clean.
Even though I highly recommend Shutter Island to anyone, I will admit that there are a few negatives, most notably:
- Plot Holes. Granted you can't cover every angle in a short two-hour time frame and keep the pace rolling, there are a few "I don't know about that" moments. For instance, one character has metal staples holding together a jagged cut on his face, even though staples like that weren't widely used until much later than the movie's setting. And in a flashback scene, DiCaprio enters a Nazi officer's office and hears a record playing music that was composed by a famous Jewish musician - I wouldn't suspect any Nazi would listen to anything related to the Jewish faith.
- Continuity Problems. Though few and far between, if you watch closely you'll notice little things like a character holding a cup in her right hand, then when the shot changes she's holding it in her left, then back again. And DiCaprio goes through several instances of getting soaked with water, only to become completely dried mere seconds later.
Shutter Island is one of those kind of movies that will keep you guessing, even long after it's over. Even the unbelievable twist at the end doesn't compare to the final words muttered by DiCaprio's character. You're never exactly sure what they mean, and you'll spend plenty of time running them through your head, wondering about their true intent. Shutter Island represents on of Hollywood's best efforts in years, and proves that Scorsese and DiCaprio are quickly becoming one of the film industry's best actor-director pairs in modern history. And more than that, this is the kind of move that will quickly become a staple of home video collections everywhere.
Even now, several days after watching the film for the first time, I'm still thinking about it. I've been replaying each scene and line of dialogue over and over in my mind, searching for clues that validate - or even invalidate - the ending. Oddly enough, I'm still wondering if it ended the way I think it ended. Just like "Total Recall," you're never truly convinced that the wrap-up at the end isn't just a ruse in and of itself, and that reality is much different than what we are led to believe.
I can't recommend Shutter Island enough. It's a thriller, who-done-it that history will remember as one of the finest films ever. If you're looking for another DVD to add to your home collection, or even a title to request at your local video store or Red Box, this is it.