Main cast: Leonardo DiCaprio (US Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels), Mark Ruffalo (Chuck Aule), Max von Sydow (Dr Naehring), Michelle Williams (Dolores Chanal), Emily Mortimer (Rachel Solando), Patricia Clarkson (Rachel Solando), Jackie Earle Haley (George Noyce), Ted Levine (Warden), John Carroll Lynch (Deputy Warden McPherson), Elias Koteas (Andrew Laeddis), and Ben Kingsley (Dr John Cawley)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island is a “twist” movie. How much you will enjoy this movie, therefore, will depend on how plausible you find the twist to be. Of course, if you have read the book, then you will be spoiled where this movie is concerned.
In 1954, Shutter Island is a high-security detention-cum-treatment center for some of the most dangerous insane people in America. Our hero, US Marshal Teddy Daniels, comes here with his new partner, Chuck Aule, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of an inmate, Rachel Solando. Rachel appeared to have vanished – literally – from her room and no one can explain where she is or how she got out. Teddy becomes frustrated when he realizes that the staff, from the chief medical officer Dr John Crawley to even the lowest nurse, is hiding something.
Later, he reveals to Chuck that he has his own agenda in coming to Shutter Island. Two years ago, his wife Dolores was killed in a fire started by the arsonist Andrew Laeddis, and Teddy has reasons to believe that Andrew is now one of the inmates of Shutter Island. During his investigation, Teddy met George Noyce, a former patient who claims that Shutter Island is a center for grisly experiments performed on the patients in an attempt to help the US government create some kind of super soldier. Teddy intends to expose Shutter Island for what it is and shut it down for good.
As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that nothing is what it seems to be on Shutter Island.
Initially I was annoyed by the tendency of the movie to introduce painfully loud sounds as an attempt to shock me. But as the movie progresses, Mr Scorsese abandons such childish tricks for more effective slow but sure build up of suspense and chilling atmosphere, so much so that I am at the edge of my seat for the most of this movie. Leonardo DiCaprio looks rather puffy, but given who he is playing in this movie, his unimpressive physique makes sense, heh. He gives an effective performance here as a character who increasingly breaks down as his paranoia and suspicion begin to mount. Mark Ruffalo hasn’t much to do here beyond playing the cheery good-natured partner, but as always, he is very easy on the eyes and he obliges with a most charming scene where he walks around shirtless.
Shutter Island is an intense and chilling thriller that evokes a sense of isolation and despair in me as I watch the movie. Still, my enjoyment is slightly marred by the fact that I manage to guess the twist at about the midpoint of the movie and I find the twist a little hard to believe. But the ending is a most painfully bittersweet one, almost making up for my guessing the twist correctly.