Shutter Island - A Review of the Movie

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Shutter Island

If you have trouble falling asleep or feel the urge to check the front door at night after watching this movie, don’t be surprised. Shutter Island is that kind of film, all shadows, suspense and pure paranoia from the master of the genre, Martin Scorsese.

Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his colleague Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are U.S. Marshals assigned to investigate a break out from Shutter Island, a virtually escape-proof prison in Boston Harbour for the criminally insane. The inmate who’s gotten away is a murderess. No one is able to figure out how she slipped out from her locked cell; neither do they have answers for how she fled the island, since the only way to leave the place is by ferry.

In the course of his investigations, Teddy comes to realize that there’s more to Shutter Island than meets the eye, by way of illegal goings-on, fat cat financiers and ex-Nazis. Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley), who heads the place, is seemingly cooperative, but Teddy soon starts suspecting that he’s only a puppet. In the midst of these dark portents, a hurricane cuts off the prison from the mainland.

For sheer atmospherics, there’s no one to beat Scorsese. As he cranks up the suspense it becomes impossible to distinguish between reality and what goes on in Teddy’s slowly disintegrating mind.

DiCaprio pitches in with one of his finest performances, while Mark Ruffalo complements him with a nuanced act. The supporting cast of Ben Kingsley, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer, Elias Koteas and others play key roles in sustaining the moody ambience.

The film gets an R rating for its violence quotient, language and a smattering of nudity.  Two hours and twenty minutes fly past thanks to Shutter Island’s zippy, edge-of-the-seat pace. If you like poking around the murkier corners of the human mind, this one’s for you. Anyone with a nervous disposition is best advised to stay away.

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