Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shutter Island

Movie name: Shutter Island
Year of release: 2009/2010
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Max Von Sydow, Jackie Earle Hayley, Ted Levine, John Carroll Lynch, Elias Koteas, Robin Bartlett, Christopher Denham
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Synopsis:The new Martin Scorsese film, following his hugely successful "The Departed" is a return to his "Cape Fear" territory: the thriller/suspense reinvention. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (author of "Mystic River" and "Gone baby Gone" to name but a few), the film follows the story of US Marshall Teddy Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule. Both men find themselves going to Shutter Island, a facility for criminals with mental disorders. Both men are investigating the disappearance of Rachel Solondo, a patient who unexpectedly disappears though she's closely observed. When both marshalls appear in the island there's a strong resistance towards them and no one appears to be willing to cooperate with the investigation, particularly the enigmatic Dr. Cawley. Teddy Daniels starts digging through the clues, while his personal life starts unraveling before everyone, threatening his sanity.
The film, much like "Cape Fear" breathes a lot of the classics for inspiration, each frame and the editing joined in a way that makes the tension grow with each beat. Scorsese knows how to create a tense atmosphere and this film gradually builds it since the first frame. Teddy Daniels is our main focus, through his eyes we witness what he has seen and experienced, the horrors of the liberation of the concentration camps, the passing of his wife. When the unraveling of the story presents itself, the questions that are posed are as crucial for the main character as they are to the viewer. Scorsese knows this all too well and he keeps building the crescendo until the final frames. The film benefits from another fantastic and intense performance of Leonardo DiCaprio, who infuses Teddy Daniels with a pain and sadness that are haunting. Ben Kingsley creates an equally chilling and menacing character as is usual. Highlights also go to the editing of Thelma Schoonmaker and the beautiful cinematography of Robert Richardson. A fantastic film to be seen!