Cover: Shutter Island Rating: 0
Dec 9, 2013


Director:Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams
Writer:Laeta Kalogridis, Steven Knight
Producer:Martin Scorsese, Bradley J. Fischer, Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer
Duration:138 min
Aspect Ratio:2.36:1


Martin Scorsese puts Leonardo DiCaprio through the wringer again in Shutter Island, a gothic adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel. Leo's character, a Federal Marshal named Teddy Daniels, is first seen vomiting and jittery aboard a ferry; he and his new partner (Mark Ruffalo) are being taken across the water to investigate an escape from a prison for the criminally insane, located on a forbidding rock called Shutter Island. From the first, Scorsese treats the place as though it were Skull Island in King Kong, worthy of ominous music cues and portentous camera angles. This might not be an easy assignment for the sweaty, anxious Daniels, who is haunted by his memories of German concentration camps and the loss of his wife (Michelle Williams, appearing in ghostly hallucinations). The audience will likely feel just as unnerved as Daniels, given the destabilizing nature of Robert Richardson's swooping cinematography and Thelma Schoonmaker's crazy-making editing scheme (it feels as though fractions of seconds have been removed from the timing of simple conversations, giving the movie a strung-out edginess--it's like watching Ray Liotta's cocaine meltdown sequence from GoodFellas for 138 minutes). Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow are staff psychiatrists, suspiciously eager to talk about lobotomies, and Ted Levine and Patricia Clarkson appear for small but potent turns. Scorsese appears to be "doing a genre picture" here, borrowing happily from influences such as Val Lewton and Samuel Fuller, and the film has a resultingly put-on atmosphere: a great deal of old-dark-house Sturm und Drang whipped up in service of a gimmicky little premise. The fade-out achieves some measure of real eeriness, and the whole shebang is certainly a kicky night out at the movies--if you can shake the sense that a talented filmmaker is working a couple of rungs beneath his level.