Shutter Island (15)

Film

Thrillers

Shutter Island.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Mar 9 2010

Kitsch is most enjoyable when it doesn’t know it’s kitsch. Everyone involved in ‘Shutter Island’ – most obviously director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio – seem to be taking this berserk, meandering story absolutely seriously, which only serves to make an already fun psychological thriller all the more ludicrous and entertaining.

The film is set in 1954. DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a US marshal dispatched to the titular oceanbound asylum to investigate the disappearance of a criminally insane inmate from her locked cell. He soon begins to suspect that this remote facility isn’t all it appears – is Ben Kingsley’s avuncular psychiatrist really as kindly and welfare-conscious as he seems? Why are the guards so heavily armed? And what’s with the mysterious lighthouse that all the patients seem so terrified of? To make matters worse there’s a hurricane coming in, the generators are on the blink and Teddy’s new partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) is starting to look decidedly shifty. ‘Taxi Driver’ this ain’t.

Actually, the Scorsese movie it most resembles is his previous exercise in Hitchcockian overkill, 1991’s ‘Cape Fear’. With DiCaprio rather limp and forgettable in the lead, ‘Shutter Island’ lacks the centrifugal might of De Niro’s powerhouse central performance in the earlier film. But it compensates with pure visual, aural  and narrative excess: this is modern gothic taken to its (il)logical extreme, a work of pure operatic delirium. The closest ‘Shutter Island’ gets to a commanding, De Niro-like presence might be its perverse, overbearing soundtrack, a selection of the most doom-laden pieces by modern composers ranging from Kryzstof Penderecki to Max Richter. Every twist in the tale is accompanied by a frenzied flurry of violins, every moment of violence underscored by a pounding, atonal piano crescendo.

While the narrative, adapted from Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel, is hopelessly convoluted, the film is held together by the sheer bludgeoning force of Scorsese’s directorial vision. Never one to shy away from visual overindulgence, Scorsese has used ‘Shutter Island’ as an excuse to really throw open his box of tricks, chucking in gaudy but strikingly beautiful dream sequences, harrowing (if rather tasteless) concentration camp flashbacks and the most thunderous, howling rainstorms this side of ‘Suspiria’.

In fact, Argento’s film, a similarly monumental and manic triumph of style over substance, may be the most appropriate comparison here. And while Scorsese may lack the giallo master’s manic invention, the tension between his natural tendency towards old-fashioned Hollywood classicism and his evident desire to cut loose gives the film its strange, irrestistible power. As senseless, perverse and unwieldy as it undoubtedly is, ‘Shutter Island’ might be Scorsese’s most enjoyable film in a decade.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Mar 12, 2010

Duration:

138 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:8
  • 2 star:5
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|58
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Daniel

Slightly underwhelmed by this film. Visually impressive, all the padding is there; however, the plot seems to lack a level of sophistication. For the final 30 minutes or so I felt like I was being bludgeoned with the predictable conclusion. A bit of a cliche in concept these days, but nevertheless well executed, despite Dicaprio's unconvincing performance. The fact that this film is even average pays testament to Scorcese's brilliance.

Daniel

Slightly underwhelmed by this film. Visually impressive, all the padding is there; however, the plot seems to lack a level of sophistication. For the final 30 minutes or so I felt like I was being bludgeoned with the predictable conclusion. A bit of a cliche in concept these days, but nevertheless well executed, despite Dicaprio's unconvincing performance. The fact that this film is even average pays testament to Scorcese's brilliance.

andy

It lacked any real tension until the final three quarters of an hour.Most of the offical reviews I read said it could have benefited from being half an hour shorter and I would tend to agree.Thought the twist ending was quite good though.

andy

It lacked any real tension until the final three quarters of an hour.Most of the offical reviews I read said it could have benefited from being half an hour shorter and I would tend to agree.Thought the twist ending was quite good though.

louise

i was very confused by this film. I liked the not knowing bit in the middle, (is he mad or isn't he?) but the ending was very strange.

louise

i was very confused by this film. I liked the not knowing bit in the middle, (is he mad or isn't he?) but the ending was very strange.

tom

Having read the comments on here i thought this film would be much worse than it turned out to be. I thought the score and the poor movement effects when on the boat and jeep were all very deliberately over done. A homage to old films of the genre I thought. The story raises some interesting questions and themes. Whilst i agree it stops short of fulfilling its potential it is very watchable and does have some moments of suspense. There should have been more. Certainly did not regret seeing this film.

tom

Having read the comments on here i thought this film would be much worse than it turned out to be. I thought the score and the poor movement effects when on the boat and jeep were all very deliberately over done. A homage to old films of the genre I thought. The story raises some interesting questions and themes. Whilst i agree it stops short of fulfilling its potential it is very watchable and does have some moments of suspense. There should have been more. Certainly did not regret seeing this film.

Ben

The review misses the mark. I urge the author to rewatch the film.

Ben

The review misses the mark. I urge the author to rewatch the film.

lynutty

trash on film. I gave it 1 star because it ended.. when the theatre full of people laugh when its over....and all of the talk walking out was 'that was shit'...you know you've gone wrong. murdering children and seeing their murdered bodies....sick!

lynutty

trash on film. I gave it 1 star because it ended.. when the theatre full of people laugh when its over....and all of the talk walking out was 'that was shit'...you know you've gone wrong. murdering children and seeing their murdered bodies....sick!

Lindariel

I thought it was the dog's/dogs' bollocks and went to see it again the next day!!! 12 out of 10 for me :-)

Lindariel

I thought it was the dog's/dogs' bollocks and went to see it again the next day!!! 12 out of 10 for me :-)

David

A horrid film! Technically and from the point of view of photography it's flawless, but Scorsese's obsession with all forms of human depravity and degradation shows no signs of letting up. May well be a master of his craft, but he's also the only director who has devoted his life trying to make cinema-goers throw up in their seats! And he seems to revel in his ability to do this. Scorsese's final few films will be the end of an era and thank God for that!

David

A horrid film! Technically and from the point of view of photography it's flawless, but Scorsese's obsession with all forms of human depravity and degradation shows no signs of letting up. May well be a master of his craft, but he's also the only director who has devoted his life trying to make cinema-goers throw up in their seats! And he seems to revel in his ability to do this. Scorsese's final few films will be the end of an era and thank God for that!

Paul

Underwhelmed and mystified how a film like this gets to be made and distributed other than because of the names behind it. Reminds me how Hollywood really doesn't mind scrapping the barrel and putting out this 'stuff'. Ben Kingsley in a bow-tie? Please. Spare yourself a tedious night out, the other reviews here describe the experience.

Paul

Underwhelmed and mystified how a film like this gets to be made and distributed other than because of the names behind it. Reminds me how Hollywood really doesn't mind scrapping the barrel and putting out this 'stuff'. Ben Kingsley in a bow-tie? Please. Spare yourself a tedious night out, the other reviews here describe the experience.

Thomas Noctor

I love this Directers Movies, Goodfellas and the likes so I was looking forward to this! Great film until the end, oh boy worst ending since No Country For Bored Menand Brothers! Shame, Di Caprio was good in this, very lazy predictable ending!

Thomas Noctor

I love this Directers Movies, Goodfellas and the likes so I was looking forward to this! Great film until the end, oh boy worst ending since No Country For Bored Menand Brothers! Shame, Di Caprio was good in this, very lazy predictable ending!

Jane

Agree with Joe on this one. The usual pile of trash from Hollywood's veteran sicko. Martin Scorsese : modern cinema's very own Marquis de Sade. The difference being that nutcase got locked up for his "art" while this one gets paid millions for his!

Jane

Agree with Joe on this one. The usual pile of trash from Hollywood's veteran sicko. Martin Scorsese : modern cinema's very own Marquis de Sade. The difference being that nutcase got locked up for his "art" while this one gets paid millions for his!

Kate

The opening 5 minutes of this film with its overblown and (sadly) comical score left me with a headache which was not improved by the shallow depiction of an original and creative storyline and characters. I was really looking forward to this film - SUCH a disappointment.

Kate

The opening 5 minutes of this film with its overblown and (sadly) comical score left me with a headache which was not improved by the shallow depiction of an original and creative storyline and characters. I was really looking forward to this film - SUCH a disappointment.

Joe

I don't know how anyone of sound mind can honestly claim to have enjoyed watching this film. Or any Scorsese film for that matter! For this is yet another one of his sad, sick and utterly deranged fantasies; another product of his puerile, slightly psychotic mind, which is probably now on the verge of senility too! "Shutter Island" is the kind of place Scorsese should be kept in, so that healthier minds don't have to be disturbed by the "work" of this crazy, little, Italian freak!

Joe

I don't know how anyone of sound mind can honestly claim to have enjoyed watching this film. Or any Scorsese film for that matter! For this is yet another one of his sad, sick and utterly deranged fantasies; another product of his puerile, slightly psychotic mind, which is probably now on the verge of senility too! "Shutter Island" is the kind of place Scorsese should be kept in, so that healthier minds don't have to be disturbed by the "work" of this crazy, little, Italian freak!

critique

Intriguing, if overblown thriller, with a great twist that, unlike Stevhors, I didn`t see coming, and full of cinematic verve.

critique

Intriguing, if overblown thriller, with a great twist that, unlike Stevhors, I didn`t see coming, and full of cinematic verve.

O&#039;Gorman

On it's won merits the opening ten minutes of the movie are excellent. The stylised noir scene on the Ferry replete with Thelma Schoonmaker's 1940's Edit hit exactly the right tone for the story and the genre of the book. However Marty got bored quickly and soon reverted to Martyism's ( he's not the most subtle Director with his Actors ) and before long we were in an average though well shot whodunnit. Was a shame really since he got an excellent performance out of Di Caprio, Ruffalo and Kingsley. He never invested enough time with Teddy's Wife to give us the emotional impact needed for the ending which unfortunately scooby doo'ed all that came previously. Having said that it's better than most of what's out there at the moment including the similarly genre Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

O&#039;Gorman

On it's won merits the opening ten minutes of the movie are excellent. The stylised noir scene on the Ferry replete with Thelma Schoonmaker's 1940's Edit hit exactly the right tone for the story and the genre of the book. However Marty got bored quickly and soon reverted to Martyism's ( he's not the most subtle Director with his Actors ) and before long we were in an average though well shot whodunnit. Was a shame really since he got an excellent performance out of Di Caprio, Ruffalo and Kingsley. He never invested enough time with Teddy's Wife to give us the emotional impact needed for the ending which unfortunately scooby doo'ed all that came previously. Having said that it's better than most of what's out there at the moment including the similarly genre Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

kaz

I really enjoyed this film, having watched Titanic the previous night proves how much Di-Caprio has grown as an actor. Half suspected the twist but it held my attention all the way through. Ben Kingsley was as watchable as ever.

kaz

I really enjoyed this film, having watched Titanic the previous night proves how much Di-Caprio has grown as an actor. Half suspected the twist but it held my attention all the way through. Ben Kingsley was as watchable as ever.

Kirsty

As acceptable a way to spend a couple of hours as it is, this film falls short of the brilliant, suspenseful psychological thriller it could...and should have been. A very clever idea which didn't really come to fruition. Shutter Island should tap into the fear that most people probably have that once deemed "insane" by someone else, our ability to be masters of our own fate is stripped from us. It also hints at the idea that all people probably have the potential to be deemed insane or commit abhorrent acts if pushed beyond our limits. If these ideas or themes had been explored and played out to their full potential, this film would be have been quite brilliant. I wanted to be made to feel uncomfortable by this film; on the contrary I was only too comfortable owing to the lack of suspense, and I'm afraid the lack of the "great twist" I'd been anticipating which I saw coming from the start. Having said all this, the cinematogaphy was great and I did enjoy the sombre soundrack.

Kirsty

As acceptable a way to spend a couple of hours as it is, this film falls short of the brilliant, suspenseful psychological thriller it could...and should have been. A very clever idea which didn't really come to fruition. Shutter Island should tap into the fear that most people probably have that once deemed "insane" by someone else, our ability to be masters of our own fate is stripped from us. It also hints at the idea that all people probably have the potential to be deemed insane or commit abhorrent acts if pushed beyond our limits. If these ideas or themes had been explored and played out to their full potential, this film would be have been quite brilliant. I wanted to be made to feel uncomfortable by this film; on the contrary I was only too comfortable owing to the lack of suspense, and I'm afraid the lack of the "great twist" I'd been anticipating which I saw coming from the start. Having said all this, the cinematogaphy was great and I did enjoy the sombre soundrack.

Stevhors

Saw this in the Manchester Trafford Centre cinema which has very good screen and sound which helps this film a lot, DVD would lose a lot of the appeal. Great performances from Leonardo Dicaprio and Ben Kinglsey carry the plot along, but I saw the twist coming about half way through which spoiled the effect for me compared with other reviewers on this site. Not as much suspense and tension as the trailers imply, but an OK way to pass 2 hours.

Stevhors

Saw this in the Manchester Trafford Centre cinema which has very good screen and sound which helps this film a lot, DVD would lose a lot of the appeal. Great performances from Leonardo Dicaprio and Ben Kinglsey carry the plot along, but I saw the twist coming about half way through which spoiled the effect for me compared with other reviewers on this site. Not as much suspense and tension as the trailers imply, but an OK way to pass 2 hours.

Dicky

If I didn’t know better, I’d say some of the rave reviews below are from the film studio/distributor/etc … as if! . I’m not going to pretend I stayed for all the film – I left after an hour. It’s not that it was a particularly bad film, it just wasn’t a particularly good one. It rambled, and was hard to believe and make sense of. Why would prison officers leave Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) unarmed, alone, with mentally unstable convicted murderers on the loose? Despite her death, Teddy Daniels’ wife keeps reappearing before him – so much so it gets irritating. . Worth 2 stars, not 3. Some of the photography’s good, but some of it distinctly blurred – particularly the opening scene where DiCaprio approaches the island for the first time. Why does fast movement cause this annoying blurring? . On the upside, I thought Ben Kingsley gave a great performance. . Not sure I’d recommend this one, and it seems my thoughts on this film are in keeping with general opinion on this site. . I think I’ll just add I left after others had started to do so.

Dicky

If I didn’t know better, I’d say some of the rave reviews below are from the film studio/distributor/etc … as if! . I’m not going to pretend I stayed for all the film – I left after an hour. It’s not that it was a particularly bad film, it just wasn’t a particularly good one. It rambled, and was hard to believe and make sense of. Why would prison officers leave Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) unarmed, alone, with mentally unstable convicted murderers on the loose? Despite her death, Teddy Daniels’ wife keeps reappearing before him – so much so it gets irritating. . Worth 2 stars, not 3. Some of the photography’s good, but some of it distinctly blurred – particularly the opening scene where DiCaprio approaches the island for the first time. Why does fast movement cause this annoying blurring? . On the upside, I thought Ben Kingsley gave a great performance. . Not sure I’d recommend this one, and it seems my thoughts on this film are in keeping with general opinion on this site. . I think I’ll just add I left after others had started to do so.

GS

Not a great film. Confusing at times, some shocks along the way, but ultimately unrewarding.

GS

Not a great film. Confusing at times, some shocks along the way, but ultimately unrewarding.

Miles

Really enjoyed it. Amazing cinematography, the plot interested me and I liked the twists. Doesn't all make sense but I don't mind that. Would watch it again.

Miles

Really enjoyed it. Amazing cinematography, the plot interested me and I liked the twists. Doesn't all make sense but I don't mind that. Would watch it again.

chrisp

Great movie! An all time classic, mainstream masterpiece with atmosphere, good plot etc. Your film critic sucks, as usual..

chrisp

Great movie! An all time classic, mainstream masterpiece with atmosphere, good plot etc. Your film critic sucks, as usual..

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