Shutter Island

A Satisfying, Beautifully Crafted Psychological Thriller, 23 March 2010

Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A fine psychological thriller which sees both Director Martin Scorsese and lead actors Ben Kingsley and Leo Di Caprio on fine form. The fact that this film was released almost a year after it was finished gave rise to rumours that something was amiss with the artistic merits of this project. Those rumours were misplaced.

The plot is somewhat formulaic. Although the screenplay and direction hint broadly at what is coming next, the delivery and impact of the twists and turns is always compelling. Federal Marshall Daniels, Di Caprio,and sidekick Chuch Aule, played by Mark Ruffalo, arrive on Shutter Island , a secure psychiatric facility, to investigate the escape of a patient as storm clouds gather in the sky. Yet as his investigations advance, so questions about why he is there, what is happening at the facility and what his role is mount. Scorsese reprises his use of the weather, nature and scenery, which he skilfully exploited in his remake of Cape Fear to great effect.

Kingsley is superb as Psychiatrist Dr Cawley. His measured and assured tones perfect for the role. Even when Daniels blows up his car he simply remarks that he was “quite fond of that car”, one of the few moments of humour in what is quite a dark film. Set in 1954, and with flashbacks to both wartime, and personal , trauma, there is an air of “other worldliness” about proceedings ,which has an insidious cumulative effect of all pervading paranoia. Robbie Robertson’s foreboding score excels in supporting that discordant atmosphere.

The two hour and twenty minute running time never, drags and climaxes with a convincing and powerful final act with directing and acting talent at full throttle. All is revealed, contributing to a satisfying finale whilst still leaving a few elements of doubt. Recommended.

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