Thursday 10 April 2014

Shutter Island (2010)

I offer my thoughts on Shutter Island, a Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Max Von Sydow.

Previously, I have only seen one film from Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street -  earlier in the year, which I loved, so I decided to go and explore a few more Scorsese films that were available on Netflix UK and the one that first caught my eye was the psychological thriller Shutter Island, set in 1954, which saw a Federal Marshal  Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Alnus (Mark Ruffalo) arrive on an Island housing the criminally insane, presided over by Dr. Jeremiah Naehring (Max Von Sydow), to investigate the escape of a murderess from a locked cell. However, things aren’t as simple as they appear.

I’ve watched very few psychological thriller/horror films and it’s certainly a genre that I want to explore more of, and where better to start than Martin Scorsese, especially after the positive experience with The Wolf of Wall Street? Unfortunately, this film also suffered a problem that came with his most recent film – Shutter Island was just too damn long for something that was by all accounts, a well-acted and well-directed B-Movie, it could have easily been done in just an hour and a half as opposed to over the two hours running time that it boasted.

However, whilst Shutter Island’s running time is perhaps too long, everything else in this film is a success. Whilst I’m not DiCaprio’s biggest fan, the only film I’ve not really liked him in is Titanic, for he’s been strong in both The Wolf of Wall Street and Inception respectively, and in memory, they’re the only other DiCaprio films that I’ve seen. He is good here as the lead character, Federal Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels, and the end result allows for a very compelling main character who when supported by Mark Ruffalo’s Chuck Alnus, allows for a what on paper looks like a well-casted buddy cop movie, but with an end twist that whilst will be predictable to some, myself included, the movie really pays off, and although it’s not really worth the long investment in running time, the movie will keep you engaged.

Max Von Sydow is the other major player in this film and he plays the creepy Dr. Jeremiah Naehring all too well. The character serves as a good antagonist, acting as a good foil to Daniels and Alnus respectively.

As a period piece, Shutter Island is filled with several nods to different films in multiple genres, most notably the horror category as well as film noir. It will probably require multiple viewings for me to fully appreciate the film however – given knowledge of the ending twist this may especially help.

Aside from the length, there isn’t much that Shutter Island puts wrong. Sure, it will probably be viewed as boring for some and is clearly a slow burner rather than an action packed blockbuster, but it still manages to be a strong and powerful movie.

Being more thriller than horror, There are no outright scares, but it still has a great atmospheric feel, and is very distinctive. Scorsese impresses with his directing talent, and manages to make this film engaging whereas lesser filmmakers would probably have not. This comes recommended, but it’s likely to be divisive due to its running time, so your enjoyment of this movie will most likely depend on how well you can stand long films.


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