Film #136: Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter_IslandDirector: Martin Scorsese
Language: English and some German
Length: 138 minutes
Watched on: 28 Dec 2014

I had the plot of this movie described to me before I watched it, and I correctly predicted the plot twist immediately. I don’t know whether this is because I’d heard about the movie before, or if the plot is just too archetypal and simplistic. I’m leaning towards the second.

In the movie, Leo DiCaprio arrives as a private investigator onto an island to investigate a mysterious murder. The island happens to be a mental asylum, so Leo has to interrogate several mental patients and wander round eery corridors. I feel like I’d be insulting someone’s intelligence if I assumed that they couldn’t guess the big twist.

Much of the movie is Leo having standoffish scenes with Ben Kingsley and Mark Ruffalo, in a very typical straight men smouldering masculinity way. The other part is flashbacks and dream sequences about Leo’s former life, which I thought were visually evocative and creative.

The film definitely has a particular style to it, as it’s set in the post-war period (or possibly interbellum), and many of the mental patients are suffering PTSD after the war. It takes place in a lot of dark rooms, under a perpetually cloudy sky. This works well for the film, although it risks getting bogged down by itself.

In the end, it also gets confusing on a minute level, as it becomes ambiguous in different ways. Personally I don’t think this was executed particularly well, as there quickly become too many threads to keep track of, and actually I suspect that it is supposed to sound profound and give Leo a chance to prostate himself on-screen. The performance was definitely overdone, especially from him.

In general it was fine, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it, on balance. There are better things out there to watch!

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