I first became interested in Shutter Island through some Facebook buzz, mostly about how the movie played so differently from the trailer. I will admit, I normally pass on most movies with Leo DiCaprio–probably because the last thing I saw him in was Titanic, so I’ve dismissed him as a rather pretty-boy one trick pony. I have been happily corrected in his fantastic and unnerving performance in Shutter Island.
I found out that yet again this is a film based on a book, though perhaps a not widely read one as I’d found few complaints that the movie didn’t follow the book, didn’t do it justice, etc., etc. I also somehow managed to ignore the fact that it was directed by Martin Scorsese (a problem which was quickly rectified very early in the film!). So I guess my point is, I went into this viewing with very few expectations, except that it played less like standard horror movie fodder and more like a true psychological thriller. That’s for me!
To say this movie was creepy is truly an understatement. I was on edge from the first frame (an excellent score does wonders, especially as a complement to the stunning videography), and yes, there were a couple of true jump-out-of-your-seat moments. I will warn you, however, that if you are at all sensitive to certain types of violence–particularly related to the Holocaust–there will be scenes which are difficult to watch. My husband in particular has difficulties with any movies showing violence against children, so I know significant parts of the film would be very hard for him to watch. I had some difficulty myself, even though I can usually separate myself from such things.
From the beginning, the movie hints often to a twist ending. But this is Scorsese, not Shamalayan, and the end to me is more of a gradual turn than a sharp twist. And in this way, with the absence of full-on shock value, the ending is all the more terrifying.
I consider a movie to be a good one if it makes you ponder–that, to me, is entertaining in its own way. Shutter Island completely fits the bill in that regard. Much like some of my other very favorite movies–like Memento, The Game, and The Prestige–I definitely want to see this again. Also, it occurs to me that two of the above-mentioned films were directed by Christopher Nolan. Compare his storytelling style against that of M. Night, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
Lastly, I would be remiss in mentioning that Scorsese brings together a phenomenal supporting cast with Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow, and it was nice to see Mark Ruffalo being someone other than the typical cute guy. But maybe somebody could get Scorsese a new recipe for fake blood someday? Please?