Another review by Windy,make sure to stop by and say Hello to her. I am so glad she is on my team.
Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Michele Williams and Ben Kingsly, is the story of a Federal Marshall, Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio), sent to a mental institution to investigate the disappearance of a patient. However, as we get deeper into the film, we learn Daniels has alternate motives for visiting the island.
Having fought in World War II, rescued prisoners from Dachau Concentration Camp and lived through the loss of his wife, Daniels is a person who is more troubled on the inside than he realizes. DiCaprio sinks his teeth into this role and loses himself in his character. This is one of the few films where I forgot I was watching DiCaprio and instead focused on the character. Every aspect of Daniels is well executed – from his mannerisms to his display of emotion, including loss, confusion, anger and resentment.
Daniels’ partner, Chuck Aule (Ruffalo), is suited fine for a secondary character, but he remains somewhat expressionless throughout the film. His character purposely doesn’t have much backstory until late in the film, but this lack of depth takes away from Ruffalo’s ability to bring the character to life. This is likely a fault of the character itself, and not indicative of Ruffalo’s acting.
Dr. Cawley (Kingsley) is superbly played. Everything about him makes you question his motives. You might think he’s evil in one moment and the next moment he shows compassion for his patients. Kingsley does absolutely everything right with this role and you immediately are intrigued and suspicious of his character. He was the spot-on choice for this role.
The film itself is captivating. At 137 minutes, you don’t feel a moment of the film is wasted on superfluous dialogue or imagery. Scorsese uses every minute of the film to tell a compelling, thrilling story. Particularly vivid and captivating are Daniels’ day dreams and night mares. The imagery in these scenes is sometimes romantic, sometimes sad, and always entrancing.
There are, however, two aspects to the film that could have been better. The first is the use of the “green screen” when DiCaprio and Ruffalo are against the ocean backdrop. To an avid movie-goer, it’s evident that the two actors are nowhere near an ocean. The second instance is the music in the first half of the film, which is too dramatic for the slower action. The story doesn’t really build up until after Daniels and Aule are on the island, yet the music starts off as dramatic as it ends. There was no build-up to climactic sound.
Overall, Shutter Island is a well-made film with a very strong cast. Everything about the characters and island is lifelike, and it’s a place I sure hope I never have to visit (unless it’s on DVD).
9 out of 10 sandwiches
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