Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Rating: 7 Electroshocked Brains
A pair of Federal Marshals probe the disappearance of a female inmate on an island facility for the criminally insane in 1954.
What can I say? Director Martin Scorsese, master of such films as The Departed and Goodfellas, has presented us with another amazing gem of film. There’s just one little problem, and for a movie-phile like me, it’s a big one: I’ve seen it before! Maybe you fans of thriller-horror films have heard of this movie, it’s called Identity. Stars John Cusack, Ray Liotta, and Amanda Peet, among others. And if you have seen Identity, then with only a few details rearranged, you already know the plot of Shutter Island. Sad, isn’t it? I digress.
It’s truly terrible to have such a visual feast for the eyes, and that does include the cast, being forced to do minor things that are bone-grindingly annoying to the audience. Like star Leonardo DiCaprio, as Federal Mah-shal Teddy Daniels in his suit-and-tie, or the orderly uniform, or his undershirt: nice to look at, but that god-awful fake Boston accent, even knowing the reason for it, just has to go. The insistence of Mark Ruffalo’s character Chuck on calling Teddy “Boss” gets very sad, especially towards the end. Ben Kingsley as Dr. Crawley does a fine job, as always, but somehow I’d prefer him to grow fangs and lunge at the hero, instead of this sad resignation and pleading we get. The references to the Nazi prison Dachau and the subsequent execution of the Germans by the American allies really did happen in real life, but like me, I’ll bet you’ll wonder how the hell it manages to fit into the movie along with the rest of the weirdness. Jackie Earl Hayley, fast becoming a personal favorite actor of mine, pathetically gets maybe fifteen whole minutes of screen time, despite a huge lead-in for his character. Michelle Williams of omg Brokeback Mountain fame, lends rather damp talent to the pivotal role of Dolores, the haunting wife of Teddy. Her revelation towards the end of the movie is big and all, but personally I would’ve liked to see her go all Grudge-like on everyone.
All in all, yes, it’s a great movie, and a triumph for Scorsese. Just, like Avatar, ignore the glaring fact that it’s been done before and admire the gorgeous cinematography. Try not to yell, “I know what’s gonna happen next!”, it upsets people who haven’t seen the movie. And Shutter Island gets a rating of 7 Electroshocked Brains, because every last person involved in this movie was crazy in one form or another!