Shutter Island Review by Dave

Leading up to my viewing, the only knowledge I had at my disposal was the film’s acting/directing combination of Dicaprio and Scorsese. Apart from this basic knowledge, I was under the succinct impression that the film was based on an island, and it was something to do with mental patients.

DiCaprio and Ruffalo looking down to the Lighthouse

Admittedly, the plot seems a little weak initially: a US marshal is urgently needed to find a lost patient on an isolated Island- I say as if there were some other kind. Yet from the outset, there was a lurking darkness about the plot- or maybe I was simply taken by the thick dark clouds so effortlessly hovering in the background.

Travelling to an island also gave Scorsese the unique opportunity to show off his directing talent. If you watch closely you will notice the elaborate, varied- and surprisingly effective- camera work which, combined with a twisted, melancholy sound backing, offered an intriguing and exciting commencement to the film. The combination of helicopter shots, vehicle mounts and a lot of smooth fixed-camera work assisted in crafting a seamless direction.

Peddocks Island was to become Shutter Island for the filming. Perhaps not enough emphasis is placed on this beautiful location. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peddocks_Island for more info.

Peddocks Island: the location for filming

One of the most outstanding elements was the costume design. Specifically, the plain white collared coats and pants worn for the majority of the filming were extraordinary. Why? Because they oozed plainness and clinical solidarity? Not quite. I found they offered somewhat of a blank canvas to illuminate the sinister background and focus the audience’s attention on the acting at hand. Truth be told, I’m a hug fan of clouds and rain and most things coastal but the plain whites only served to magnify the superb location for filming and pinpoint our lenses to Leo’s complexity.

I have mostly considered DiCaprio’s acting as a little one-dimensional. Yet his portrayal of Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island was believable and considered.

The flashbacks were visually powerful. They were potent agents in establishing the Teddy’s mindset as busy and embattled. These must be commended.

I’m tempted to pick up my shovel and dig into the historical human-testing-brain-adjusting issue that was raised but perhaps that will be saved for another time.

In all I was sufficiently confused and intrigued and subsequently enlightened to the extent that I would say this: It was an awakening experience. I give the film 4 reels out of 5.

4 Film Reels

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