Disregarding the fact that this film is the fourth collaboration between Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio, “Shutter Island” is flat out, your usual thriller film. Sometimes it fails, when the script tried to pack all the valuable informations into one scene, but mostly, it’s solid, beautiful, vivid and engaging enough to watch. Sure, it was made easier by the assembly of powerhouse casts that made this film. However, I was quite hard-pressed to acknowledge the grandeur that usually comes with Scorcese’s flick. It was mediocre by his standard. While this is yet, a slightly above average film, I wouldn’t praise it as one of Scorcese-DiCaprio’s best efforts. Alas, against the other films based on Dennis Lehane’s novels (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), I found that this film was less fulfilling than the others.
Shutter Island is a mental correctional facility for the insane criminals. The only point on and off of the island is through a ferry. However, at one night, a female prisoner/patient, Rachel Solando, was nowhere to be found. U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his newly appointed partner, Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) were sent to investigate. With the help (or the lack of) from the facility’s staffs, orderlies, apparently led by one Dr.Cawley (Ben Kingsley), the Marshals soon found themselves in a case that more than just a simple case of missing person, but goes almost as far as a certain conspiracy theory. On the other hand, Teddy, also has to battle his own monsters. His recently deceased wife (Michele Williams) at the hand of an arsonist, and his violent past as the member of the army that freed one of the Nazi’s concentration camp in Dachau.
To go beyond the above paragraph to describe the film would violate any enjoyment that you might had by watching the film unspoiled. But, tell you what, the mystery in this film is I think, far more subtle than it was in the book. For instance, the codes that Teddy found was only two lines in the film. Now I’ve read the book, and it actually worked in my advantage because I don’t really care about the mystery that Teddy and his partner had tried to solve because I already have a full knowledge about it. Therefore, I had stopped questioning about it and rather, soak in the visuals as they’re represented in the screen. Those little details when a character made an unmentioned mental note toward other characters, to which described a bit more in the book? They are a pleasure to watch and those nightmare sequences? They are amazing. It definitely beats any imagination I had when I read the book.
All in all, this film is actually nothing more than a well-made thriller with a piece of puzzle that will *not* make you brag had you guessed about it but not too easy to make you lost interest. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most of you had a pretty good idea on how things going to end way before the film ends. In that respect, the film’s finale is going to explains all the “whys” without ever relegating into a leeway logic and without giving you the sense that the film had cheated on you which is most of the time, is what differentiates between a solid thriller and a disastrously terrible one. Plus, with a solid cast led by DiCaprio whom I think, is getting better and better at Scorcese’s deft hand (from a man within the shadow of Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York to a solid leading man in The Departed and this film? Oh, he’s getting better, alright), Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, and my personal favorite supporting cast in this film, Jackie Earle Haley, this is a film that amidst the relative calm of February film climate stood out as one to made a comment to during your coffee break at the office. And that hint on the character’s choice at the end of the film? It’s beautiful. I love it.
My rating: *** / **** It’s not Scorcese’s best, but even if it wasn’t his best, it still came out as a solid thriller with a solid cast. Again, Scorcese bought the best out of DiCaprio. However, as one of the interblag’s reviewer had said, DiCaprio has yet bought the best out of Scorcese. And I have to agree on that one.