MOVIE REVIEW: Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese has one of the greatest resume’s in cinematic history. Raging Bull. Taxi Driver. Goodfellas. The Departed. These are just a few of Scorsese’s many masterpieces. He is without a doubt cinema royalty and will be remembered throughout time (Which according to some, will be in about two years).  So when I saw the previews for his next project, Shutter Island, I was sure I was in for a treat at the local cinema.


Shutter Island begins on a boat in the ominous, foggy, film noir waters around Boston Harbor. The Boat is carrying two U.S. Marshals (Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo) to a place known as Shutter Island, which has a hospital for the criminally insane on it known as Ashecliff. Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Ruffalo) have been sent here to investigate the disappearance of an inmate named Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer).  The only problem is this: there are many secrets on Shutter Island and no one’s talking about them.

It also appears that Teddy is holding back some secrets as well.  Haunted by the time he served during World War ll and by the death of his wife (Michelle Williams), Teddy is secretly on his own mission.  Under the cover of the investigation, Daniel’s has actually came to the island for a different purpose: to find his wife’s killer, a man by the name of Andrew Laeddis.  But as the investigation continues, it soon becomes clear to Teddy that his mission isn’t to find Rachel Solando any more: it’s simply to get off Shutter Island.

Earlier, I stated that I was in for a treat in going to see shutter island…I was partially correct. For now let’s talk about the good. Scorsese shows that he still has that cinematic magic when it comes to the wow factor. While on the island we get a sense of vast openness while also having an overpowering feeling of claustrophobia.  His camera angles, slow zooms, and wide shots show just how skillful a director he is. Many performance were really good in this film but sadly, they were all underused.

Ben Kingsley is wonderful in his role as Dr. Cawley. The two main female roles played by Michelle Williams and Emily Mortimer were also quite good. Unfortunately, Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal as Teddy is just a little too amateurish for someone who can act with such veteran precision. From his almost stereotyped Boston accent to his overly dramatic starring and posing, this is a lackluster performance to say the least. But this is just one of the things wrong with this film.

Shutter Island suffers from an extremely rare problem that is opposite of most film adaptions of books; instead of too little being added to the film, this tried to include too much. Many scenes seem to drag on when it could be wrapped up within minutes.  Where as one scene could be done in five to ten minutes, it boringly extends into the 20 minute mark.  To say the least, editing was a big factor as to why this film doesn’t reach its full potential.

This film was definitely less than what I expected, but I just don’t have the heart to say skip it. It may not be a great piece of story telling, but it is a great look at cinematography and how a master of his craft works. From the great visuals to amazing film score that sucks you in from the first note, there is a flicker of light that shimmers above Shutter Island.


*A special thanks to my dad who went and saw this with me.

So what was your opinion of Scorsese’s latest film.  Was it more than you expected or was it less? leave your comments and opinions below.


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