A fan of Martin Scorsese? Love your psychological thrillers? Fancy seeing the ever so attractive Leonardo DiCaprio acting completely insane? Then Shutter Island is definitely the film for you!
The film drifts away from what director Martin Scorsese is used to producing high impact gangster films like Goodfellas or The Departed. Here, we see Scorsese delve into a new genre with different conventions, themes, and cinematography. Shutter Island is about a U.S. Marshal named Teddy Daniels who travels to the mental institution called Shutter Island with his partner officer, Chuck Aule to investigate and solve a case regarding a missing psychiatric patient. as Teddy begins to unravel the case, he appears to unravel himself.
The film fits the typical psycho-thriller perception well. As the viewer yourself, you feel as though you are the one that's going insane with intentional cut-scenes that throw you off and make you think twice as to whether you've witnessed something odd or not. The cinematography is absolutely superb, the theme is relatable and understandable, not to mention highly impactful. Thrillers usually involve a fair share of jump-scares and dramatic music and, let's not forget to mention, scenes that involve dark and gloomy settings; but the difference between the usual thriller film and Shutter Island, is that Martin Scorsese uses alternative conventions in order to make Shutter Island live up to the sub-genre. For example, he opted to use music with soft tones for Teddy's dreams about his wife and daughter and when it comes to Teddy's nightmares of the Dachau liberation reprisals, he uses jumpy, high-suspense, seriously-toned music. Shutter Island doesn't rely heavily on jump-scares whatsoever and this is what makes Shutter Island stand out from many other psychological thriller films.
Leonardo DiCaprio's performance was absolutely exceptional; he played the delusional and borderline psychotic role extremely well, it's like he is playing a character within a character simply because he plays the sane detective that is passionate about his work yet he harbours insane issues within, that come out to play more and more as the film progresses. Ben Kingsley plays the doctor of Shutter Island and it must be said, that it seems as though he isn't acting at all due to the fact that he plays the "professional doctor" role very well, his stern and strong English accent works to his advantage and makes his role as the seemingly intelligent but mysterious doctor even more believable. The script is so effective and is actually the main reason why Shutter Island is such a good film. The script is like a story all on its own, the film and visuals just add to how amazing the script already is. Every word that is spoken from each character, is a word that brings the viewer closer to solving the mystery of what the film is about.
Unfortunately, it has to be said that certain scenes in the film could have been expanded on more. The storyline makes sense but certain areas seem too focused on the psychological aspect rather than the background story.
All in all, Martin Scorsese has done a great job with executing a psychological horror film that drifts away from the general conventions of the sub-genre. It has great scare factors, suspense, performances and an unexpected storyline to follow. It is rather enjoyable and interesting and definitely a film to watch.
If Martin Scorsese could direct more films like Shutter Island, I, for one, would be over the moon. I guess it goes to show that no matter what the genre is, Martin can still pull off a top film!