SHUTTER ISLAND: Review By Ross Hughes

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“Would it be worse to live as a monster or die as a good man!”

Shutter Island is not actually a full blown horror, its one of those films that dips it’s toes into the genre and then runs away, its more of an intrigue style thriller but directed by the man himself Martin Scorsese, this is probably the closest the man regarded by many as the best director out there, will get to making a horror and one that is being lavished with praise!

Re-teaming with his new De Niro, Leonardo Dicaprio, set in the fifties with the boy from Titanic playing a U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels, who is sent to Ashecliff Hospital along with his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate the disappearance of Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer) who in typical Jonathan Creek fashion, disappears from a locked room!

There on the island where dangerous inmates are subjected to new style treatment by Dr Cawley (Ben Kinglsey) and whose staff are loyal and dedicated.  Rachel, the woman who disappeared is locked in away for drowning her three children and then cooking dinner and putting the tragic bodies around the kitchen table.  She also lives in her own reality, where her children are still alive and that where she lives, is still her home and the Doctors and Nurses are visitors to her home!

Teddy and Chuck, two Ex WW2 soldiers try they best to find the missing woman, but encounter a place full of secrets, where one question brings another.  Soon frustration builds over especially for Teddy, whose annoyance at the lack of speed brings headaches and soon he as visions of his dead wife (Michelle Williams) who warns him of a danger ahead!

But what danger is there?  What lurks in the caves on the island…..the towering Lighthouse which no-one should enter!  As the case develops, the truth starts to emerge and  Teddy realises to his complete and utter horror, that
Shutter Island called him to the place for one reason and one reason only, and a revelation that with change his life forever………

Everywhere on this forum, I have seen praise lavished on Scorsese’s new venture.  I for one, who loves his work, sat down eagerly awaiting to be thrilled and blown away.  I had to be!  There was no reason not to be!  But an hour in, I felt a little bit, well flat!  I was investing so much time in these characters that I began to wonder was it all worth it?  It felt like there was no bite!, no scene to grip me or thrill me, just a sense of build up and build up, until we get to the sting in the tail.  Now that is no spoiler!  Any fan worth they wait in gold will sense that the film they are watching will contain a revelation that is supposed to shock the ones watching.  The trouble for me is that I guessed what was going on and what was happening about half hour in, so all the suspense and tension was ruined for me.  How did I guess?  Well I am not going to say on here, Shutter Island demands any viewer not to know anything about it, but there was one line that one character said that struck a chord within me, and the fact that I worked it all out, just ruined it all!

Now please do not think for one moment I am calling this crap.  Shutter Island is a wonderful looking film, imagery that strikes out from the screen, Scorsese filling the island with a longing mist and bringing the required dark vein that most horror films cry out for.  The performances are a stand out.  Leo in particular gives it all, a character whose layers get stripped bare by the horrors that await him.  Mortimer and even Williams who are basically extended cameos, nearly steal the show, their stories of tragic consequences playing a pivotal role in what is to come!

The film itself as some fantastic moments, which shows that despite his usual departure, Scorsese as a style that fits all genres but this is more closer to Bringing Out The Dead than his Goodfellas…..  its just I felt the pace at times was all wrong.  I did not grasp the feel of it all like I wanted too.  Maybe it was because I guessed what was happening too soon, its just the film felt as I said flat!, and I feel guilty saying that as I know its against all what many are saying.

Its not that I am trying to be different, not that I want to stand out from the crowd, its despite Shutter Island’s atmosphere and surreal outlook, I felt no emotion, maybe I got lost in the foggy grey mist, maybe I need to pay a second visit to the island… there is no question those who do not work it out will NEED to watch it again, just to see the different perceptive, I need to rewatch it in hope that maybe I find some attachment, because at the moment, I am one fan looking in from the outside!!!!!!

OVERALL: Not the classic I expected, Shutter Island contains some great moments, but an easy to guess “twist” and a pace that changes frequently, meant this Scorsese fan was left a tiny disappointed at the overall outcome……

Rating: ★★★☆☆

[pt-filmtitle]Shutter Island[/pt-filmtitle]

About Ross Hughes 1931 Articles
Since my mother sat me down at the age of five years of age and watched a little called Halloween, I have been hooked on horror. There is no other genre that gets me excited and takes me to the edge of entertainment. I watch everything from old, new, to cheap and blockbusters, but I promise all my readers that I will always give an honest opinion, and I hope whoever reads this review section, will find a film that they too can love as much as I do! Have fun reading, and please DO HAVE NIGHTMARES!!!!!!

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