Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weeks Too Late: Shutter Island

Shutter Island. Written by Laeta Kalogridis & directed by Martin Scorsese.

: I'm not going to lie to you, readers (well, I'm not going to lie to you about
this). I am not a Martin Scorsese fan. Now, I did like Goodfellas, the new Cape Fear (Rise of the Fear) and to a lesser extent Casino. But I think most of his movies would really benefit from being axed down by at least thirty minutes. I'm sure the Departed would have been an excellent hour and a half movie. As it is, I'm pretty sure it's still playing on my DVD machine (Day 64: Further Betrayal Has Occurred).

While the idea of a movie about a scary insane asylum (basically Arkham Asylum on an Island) is pretty cool, I wasn't sure I wanted to sit through another 30 hour opus. Also: The trailers made it look like the asylum might be haunted and I thought it would be cool to see him do something supernatural.

General Review
: So...I thought there were going to be ghosts in this. Or the hints of ghosts. I may be an idiot for thinking this and the rest of the world might have gone into this move expecting a completely natural thriller. Just in case I'm not the only Gullible Gwen out there: there aren't any ghosts.

Despite being completely lacking in ghosts, this is the best Scorsase film I've seen since getting out of High School. It may have suffered from being a bit too long, but only a bit. Mostly, I was content to let him lead me around by the nose for a couple of hours. I didn't feel like tons of the movie was rehash. Or, even worse, padding to make it too long to be a run of the mill genre film. That being said, there were a couple of plots running simultaneously with the main plot. In a lot of ways I felt like the WW2 one was a bit extraneous. The main character had enough going on without peppering this in.

I enjoyed the dream sequences (trust me, enjoying them is important since they make up a ton of the movie). However, they weren't particularly dreamlike. They were too lucid and linear for me to buy as actual dreams, but I liked them as movie dreams.

The setting was great. It was barren, isolated and generally craggy. I bought that our heroes have to fight against the island itself as well as the people on it. The asylum itself, as well as being a daunting set, had some neat bits that reminded me of Escher and Vertigo.

I didn't have any real opinion of Leonardo DiCaprio going into this. I've seen him do some neat stuff and I've seen him do some flat stuff (and I refuse to hold Titanic against him, there was simply no way I was going to enjoy that movie. It wasn't his fault.). His performance in this just continued this record. I was right impressed in some places and bored in others.

And I'm hardly an expert but there were definitely times where I thought the Boston accent should have been toned down a bit. As a West Coast Canadian (sor-ree) I honestly couldn't say if it was accurate or not, but when he put it on thick it was jarring as all get out (or oot). I'm a sucker for Ben Kingsley and refuse to be held accountable for judging him fairly.

I didn't go and see this with any die hard Scorsese fans, so I couldn't say what their reactions might be. But as just a regular movie goer, I dug it. Shutter Island was genuinely suspenseful and didn't give me time to start getting bored with the mystery.


  1. Awww.... I loved The Departed. Alec Baldwin, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Matt Damon, Leo, and amongst all these actors, Marky Mark is the coolest character!

  2. Heh you're not the only one to say I'm wrong about the Departed, believe me! I just thought it would have been a great hour and a half genre movie.