In Shutter Island, the new thriller from director Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a U.S. Marshal who travels to a small island off the coast of Massachusetts to investigate the disappearance of an inmate from a hospital for the criminally insane.
Though locked in her cell, and under constant guard, Rachel Solando seemingly vanished into thin air. Now Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his new partner (Mark Ruffalo) must navigate the storm-wrenched island with little help from the asylum’s uncooperative administrators Drs. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley) and Jeremiah Naehring (Max von Sydow).
The doctors aren’t the only thing in Daniels’ way. Against a backdrop of the mysterious Ward C -- where the worst prisoners are housed and, it is rumored, experimented upon -- flashbacks of his tour of duty liberating the Dachau death camp remind Daniels of the horrors that men are capable of inflicting upon one another. But Ward C represents more than abstract evil. The sinister fortress also claims as a resident Andrew Laeddis, the arsonist responsible for the death of Daniels’ young wife, Dolores; and that’s no coincidence. Now, to solve the Solando case, Daniels must move past his hatred for Laeddis. But does he know too much to ever leave the island?
Total Recall meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in this massively engaging film that has more twists than a chiropractor’s waiting room and is based on a novel by Dennis Lehane whose Mystic River garnered Oscar attention. This one might have, too, were it released in time.
Shutter Island is the fourth DiCaprio/Scorsese collaboration and arguably the best (with fans of The Departed doing most of the arguing). In this #1 Box Office thriller, the actor has no parallel. Not the bow-tied “Sir Ben,” the intrinsically sinister von Sydow or even the stand-out “partner,” Mark Ruffalo. This is DiCaprio’s film. And it’s Teddy Daniels’ world. Everyone else is just a supporting actor. Everyone. And every twist, every turn, every false lead, builds towards a remarkable closure.
But that amazing payoff is also the film’s most significant weakness. Once you learn the twist, it’s not the same story and the journey is that much less enjoyable. The 67th patient, von Sydow’s past, Kingsley’s motive – your initial instinct on these matter very much as you walk in Leo’s gumshoes. Thus, moviegoers who have not read the book and are disciplined-enough to cup their hands over their ears in the elevator will find Shutter Island especially entertaining.
They’d be crazy not to.
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