Martin Scorsese has done it again. One of the most famed directors in Hollywood history has struck cinematic gold once more with his newest film Shutter Island. The movie, adapted from a book of the same name written by Dennis Lehane, is the epitome of a psychological thriller and will leave you second guessing reality for some time after you leave the theater.
Shutter Island, which opened on Friday, Feb. 19, is the fourth project that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have collaborated on, and it is clear that these two Hollywood titans are quite comfortable working with one another.
This duo has teamed up for such hits as The Departed and Gangs of New York in the past, creating massive expectations for Shutter Island. While films that generate as much hype as Shutter Island often disappoint, this movie is well worth the wait.
Shutter Island is set in 1954, amidst a social climate still reeling from the atrocities of World War II and paranoia over a “red invasion” of Soviet Communism. DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a U.S. Marshal from Boston sent to Shutter Island, which houses the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule, played by Mark Ruffalo, are sent to the remote psychiatric facility to investigate the disappearance of one of the patients who seemingly vanished into thin air.
While investigating the supposed escape of this patient, the Marshals are repeatedly frustrated by the unwillingness of the hospital’s staff to cooperate with the investigation. From vacationing doctors to missing files to uncooperative orderlies, it appears that the detectives will never find the answers they seek. As the story unfolds, we find that the hospital staff members are not the only ones keeping secrets, however, and that Daniels has his own motives for investigating Shutter Island.
The story is extremely well written, and plot twists are second nature in this thriller. Moral questions about things such as the treatment of the marginalized violently insane also abound. The acting in Shutter Island is also superb. DiCaprio plays the life-hardened veteran cop to a tee, while Ben Kingsley, as the head doctor, is both eerily sinister and secretive, while at the same time pulling off the dignified and compassionate doctor. Throw in a sound track which is haunting and ominous and you have a movie that gives off exquisitely creepy vibes.
Shutter Island is simply too good to miss. Even hours after the movie wrapped, I sat questioning the reality of the story, an experience very reminiscent of the first time I saw Donnie Darko. An excellent story, coupled with top notch acting and directing, Shutter Island is one of the first must-see movies of this year. I give it three out of three crowns.