Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Movie Review: "Shutter Island" (2/21/2010)

Martin Scorsese scores again with “Shutter Island,” a psychological thriller based on the 2003 best seller by Dennis LeHane. Set in 1954 with Leonardio DiCaprio as U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels, who, with his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), are investigating an asylum for the criminally insane in the middle of Boston Harbor. Apparently, one of the inmates - or “patients,” as spooky head psychiatrist Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley) prefers to call them – has inexplicably escaped. A gale-force storm knocks out the ferry service and forces the two investigators to stay on the island longer than they had anticipated.

Teddy is battling his own demons, including horrific flashbacks of his time as a U.S. soldier liberating the Dachau death camp, and of the death of his wife (Michelle Williams). He’s convinced that there is much more to the asylum than is being revealed, and obsessed with finding the answers. Unfortunately, his own sense of sanity seems to be rapidly slipping away.

This is one of those movies where, the less you know going in, the better. Resist the temptation to read any spoilers, or have your friends tell you any more about the plot. The psychological twists and turns are well worth finding out on your own.

“Shutter Island” is heavy, dark and depressing. It’s not a movie I’d particularly recommend as a romantic first date, and certainly not one for the kiddies, but it’s powerful and thought-provoking.

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