Shutter Island Review

By Feb 19, 2010 Comment (1)

Leonardo DiCaprio (Teddy Daniels) and Mark Ruffalo (Chuck Aule) in Shutter Island

Shutter Island marks the fourth collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio, a teaming which has proven successful time and time again. The main question is, does their new film measure up with Gangs Of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed?

I once had the chance to introduce Martin Scorsese at a New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner (he was presenting an award) — and took the opportunity to say out loud that I felt fortunate that my career as a film critic coincided with Martin Scorsese’s career as a filmmaker.
That sentiment still holds. Every film he makes is more than just food for thought — it’s a full banquet. Scorsese is one of only a handful of directors working whose passion for the medium bleeds through in every frame. He forces the critic to bring out his A game — to watch and analyze the film with the same energy and imagination as the filmmaker brought to making it. And that’s absolutely true of Shutter Island, his latest film…read more [The Huffington Post]

Leonardo DiCaprio (Teddy Daniels) and Michelle Williams (Dolores Chanal) in Shutter Island
Leonardo DiCaprio (Teddy Daniels) and Michelle Williams (Dolores Chanal) in Shutter Island

“Shutter Island” starts working on us with the first musical notes under the Paramount logo’s mountain, even before the film starts. They’re ominous and doomy. So is the film. This is Martin Scorsese’s evocation of the delicious shuddering fear we feel when horror movies are about something and don’t release all the tension with action scenes.
In its own way it’s a haunted house movie, or make that a haunted castle or fortress. Shutter Island, we’re told, is a remote and craggy island off Boston, where a Civil War-era fort has been adapted as a prison for the criminally insane. We approach it by boat through lowering skies, and the feeling is something like the approach to King Kong’s island: Looming in gloom from the sea, it fills the visitor with dread. To this island travel U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo)…read more [Roger Ebert]

Shutter Island Poster Shutter Island Poster Shutter Island Poster

As with The Departed, Scorsese focuses his energies on creating a pulpy, highly entertaining genre film. Considering Shutter Island’s period trappings and creepy locales, the director is clearly harking back to the horror films of yesteryear, most notably The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, in which psychological scares and foreboding atmosphere are more important than any rampant gore. Done poorly, such cinematic referencing could potentially lead to an artificial tone, but Scorsese absorbs his influences so completely that Shutter Island never feels arid or self-conscious…read more [ScreenDaily]

Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s pulp thriller is a brainy and compelling take on that most hoary of film genres: psychological horror. Equal parts parable and cautionary tale, Shutter Island is an expertly-paced thriller that feels far shorter and more exhilarating than its lengthy runtime suggests…read more [Paste]

Ben Kingsley as Dr. John Cawley, Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels and Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Aule in Shutter Island
Ben Kingsley as Dr. John Cawley, Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels and Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Aule in Shutter Island

Shutter Island, a twisty gothic mental-asylum mystery set in 1954, primes you for some of that same triumphant Marty/Hollywood fusion. Adapting a novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River), Scorsese works in a smoothly deliberate pictorial mode reminiscent of the Hollywood noirs of the ’50s, and for a while that style is classically enjoyable. Early on, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), a U.S. marshal with narrowing eyes and a wary Boston edge, takes a ferry to Shutter Island, a rocky fortress off the coast of New England that houses a prison hospital for the criminally insane. The place is even more forbidding and isolated than Alcatraz, and with good reason: Nearly all of its 66 patients are violent psychopaths. Teddy is investigating the strange disappearance of one of them, Rachel Soldano, who drowned her three children. As he questions doctors and inmates, all under the ambiguous gaze of the institution’s outwardly fastidious and liberal director (Ben Kingsley), it becomes clear that there’s much more to this case than one vanished killer…read more [EW.com]

Martin Scorsese makes movies as if his life depends on it, never skimping on ferocity and feeling. From Mean Streets to The Departed, Scorsese’s crime films turn the genre on its empty head, shaking out the clichés to uncover the violence of the mind. His latest, Shutter Island, sizzles with so much nerve-frying suspense that it’s hot to the touch. The time is 1954. The place is Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, located off Boston Harbor on a remote island that’s locked as tight as Alcatraz. A Category 5 hurricane is brewing as U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), ferry in to capture Rachel Solando, a killer of her own children who’s escaped from her cell. The Gothic terror kicks in when the storm literally breaks down walls and the patients run amok, along with their darkest secrets. See it twice and double your fun. Just don’t expect your head to stop spinning…read more [RollingStone]

Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Aule and Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio (Teddy Daniels) and Mark Ruffalo (Chuck Aule) in Shutter Island

Who’s Excellent: Everyone. Shutter Island’s cast features a who’s who of Actors Who Can Get the Job Done, from Sir Ben Kingsley to Michelle Williams, who manages the film’s most surprisingly complex role. Supporting (yet too-brief) turns by Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer, Jackie Earle Haley and Elias Koteas also impress, while Mark Ruffalo is a vision in tweed…read more [movies.com]

Shutter Island is a fiercely twisted, complex film built on a foundation of character-driven emotion. Those who think of Scorsese only as that guy who makes gangster movies will undoubtedly be disappointed, but if you’re interested in more than seeing how many guns can fit inside a violin case, then Shutter Island delivers. For me it’s my favorite Scorsese, the Scorsese of Bringing out the Dead, returned from a long hiatus. Shutter Island puts all of the director’s considerable talents to use in one film, harkening back to old school suspense thrillers like the work of Hitchcock while incorporating the new ideas of modern movie magic. Thought-provoking and surprising at every turn, Shutter Island isn’t to be missed…read more [CinemaBlend]

Shutter Island Video Review [Vaughn on Movies]

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