Monday, July 19, 2010

Shutter Island

Scorsese hits it big with Shutter Island. A lot of current movies are so shallow and don't allow for in-depth conversation to follow afterward. I know a good movie when I feel like I have to go back and rewatch it or when I need to converse with someone about how they viewed the film. Shutter Island is one of those movies.

I would call it a psychological thriller. Essentially, Leonardo DiCaprio's character Ted comes to a remote island, Shutter Island, which houses the country's worst psychological inmates. They apparently perform kinds of tests to help them "get better," but we see that some of these tests might be pretty intense.

Ted is a federal marshall who comes to the island to investigate an escaped inmate, a woman who drowned her three children and has run away on the island. Him and his partner must locate her, as she is a threat to those around her. But, as the movie goes on, the environment seems to get stranger and stranger, and it seems that Ted will never be able to leave the island. He is becoming a patient there himself!

SPOILER: Brilliant twist. I never saw it coming. I also thought that they did a tremendous job explaining what was going on. Apparently, Ted is a patient on Shutter Island, the worst of all, and they created a giant role play scenario that involved the entire island. They all "pretend" that he is a federal marshal in hopes of connecting with his true self and discovering who he is and why he's there.

Ted's wife is really the one who murdered their children. After he discovers this, Ted kills his wife and creates a fake world for himself because he doesn't want to believe his real one. Apparently Ted has been on the island for two years and suffers tremendous hallucinations. They have him on extreme medication. They have been trying different methods to get him to understand what has happened and moved past it (the role play scenario being their biggest attempt), but he normally relapses and loops back to his made-up persona.

Unfortunately, the role play idea only works for one day. In the last scene, Ted goes back into character, and they take him to the lighthouse (or so it is assumed) for him to be tested/fixed.

I thought the film really made you think. You saw the movie from DiCaprio's perspective (not reality), so at first you think that the island is the bad guy, the antagonist. You think, How can he escape? Can he tell teh world of their monstrosities? You root for DiCaprio. But, as the movie goes on, as the hallucinations get more intense, this all starts to reverse. Instead of the antagonist, the island becomes more of a support, a help. DiCaprio really becomes more delusional and violent as the pieces of reality start to unlock.

What really made me understand the overall idea of the film was when he spoke with a friend of his in a basement jail in Ward C. He said, "You're a mouse in a maze," which he truly was. They were all playing around him, and you can truly see that on a second watch of the film.


Scorsese really does create some of the best films out there. I was engrossed in the film and had to rewatch it again the second day to piece things together and have a full understanding of all of its parts. It is so interesting to watch all of the characters and dissect their dialogue and behaviors on the second time around. You'll see why.

DiCaprio creates some pretty good films as well. He's grown on me over the years. As other child actors fizzle out, he seems to get stronger. I really do think he is talented. I sympathized with his character throughout it and felt so bad for him. He conveys so much emotion that seems heartfelt. I think he was perfect for the role.

I also didn't know that this movie was first a book. I would definitely check it out. It's probably much better than the movie as it must really get into more psychological frameworks inside the minds of these patients.

So what do you think of Shutter Island?


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