- 11 Mar 10
What makes Shutter Island special is that its evocation of delirium creeps up on hero and viewer with sneaking malevolence.
1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner, Chuck (Mark Ruffalo), set sail for Ashecliff Hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the disappearance of Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer), a patient who vanished from a locked room. But all is not well at Shutter Island. Their amiable host, Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), and his colleagues sure are a gothic bunch, there’s weird looking chick (Patricia Clarkson) in the caves and who the hell is Andrew Laeddis anyway?
Traumatised by the war and the loss of his wife (Michelle Williams), a fragile Teddy struggles to make sense of these sinister environs. Perhaps the case is getting to him or maybe, just maybe, he has stumbled into a conspiracy of Nazi doctors and assorted crypt keepers.
The latest film from Martin Scorsese is very arch and very G Men. Continuing on from The Departed, Shutter Island could easily be subtitled ‘Marty has fun with genre’. Though largely faithful to the Dennis Lehane’s source novel, the film takes an equal number of cues from early Universal horror movies, Warner Bros. gangster flicks.
It hardly needs to be said that Messrs. DiCaprio, Ruffalo and Kingsley do fine work or that Thelma Schoonmaker cuts with aplomb. But what makes Shutter Island special is that like The Ninth Configuration or Scorsese’s own After Hours, it’s evocation of delirium creeps up on hero and viewer with the same sneaking malevolence. An angular score (Ingram Marshall, John Cage et al.) adds to the notion that we’re in the presence one of the great and truly barmy pictures.