June 16, 2010


Since I procrastinated too long to see Shutter Island in theaters, I have been looking forward for its release to Redbox. So fortunately for me this last week was the week.
Let me start by saying this is not your typical Scorsese film. If you are looking to see your usual Marty Sccorsese-type film i.e. The Depated, Gangs of New York, Casino or Goodfellas you've come to the wrong place. Shutter Island is primarily a dialogue driven mystery-thriller that has a dark, rich feel to it. As he has four separate times in the past eight years, Scorsese enlists possible real life boyfriend Leonardo Dicaprio as the film's central role. Like him or not, Dicaprio always gives an outstanding performance and the same can be said here. We even get to suffer through the reappearance of his Boston accent in his role as Teddy Daniels. A U.S Marshall investigating the suspicious activity, including a missing patient report, at a mental facility on Shutter Island. As long as we are throwing around the term "outstanding performance," the same can almost always be said, as well, for routinely underrated actor Mark Ruffalo. He isn't asked to carry much of the film's weight here, yet he manages to do solid, believable work as Teddy Daniel's (Dicaprio) new partner and fellow U.S. Marshall, Chuck Aule.
From opening scene to closing scene you feel as if you have been put in a bag and violently shaken, left entirely without your bearings and without a clue as to which way is up. It is best to sit back and relax and let things play out in front of you and save yourself the exhaustion of trying to actively "solve" the film; just when you think that you have made sense of things and finally have a grasp on the conundrum, the bag shakes again. With one of the best supporting casts in recent memory, Michele Williams, John Carroll Lynch, Jackie Earle Haley, Patricia Clarkson, and Ben Kingsly are sprinkled in when needed and are used more as tools to help move the film. When it's all said and done you can't help but to think that such a strong supporting cast goes largely underused and the film could have benefited with more screen time. There is plenty of disturbing and violent material in this film, but despite the constant jumble and shifting, the cinematography and tone of the film is unpredictably soft, calming, and beautiful. With a running time of 138 minutes it feels a little long, and probably could have benefited from having 20 minutes come off in the editing room.
There is sure to be many better movies released in 2010, but I have no problem saying Shutter Island is the best film released so far this year. Martin Scorsese proves he is still one of the best directors in the business and would undoubtedly benefit by taking on more projects like this in the future. Without seeing his name attached to this film you would never believe he is at the helm.
Paying only $1 to see this film just seems wrong, it is easily worth the time and effort it takes to drive to your nearest Redbox location and rent this DVD. A-

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