Friday, February 26, 2010

Movie Menage: Shutter Island

Sometimes the Reel Whore likes a little company in the dark of the theater. Though the interwebs bring us closer, reviewers cannot always bed down together for a post. With the Movie Menage, I surreptitiously pluck a couple of reviews from fellow LAMBs and other film bloggers. These brief blurbs coupled with the Reel Whore take constitute a critique à trois, if you will. Getting three opinions of a film tossed together should be better than one, right?

Shutter Island
Release: 02.19.10
Rated R
2 hours, 18 minutes

Full Price

U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed) and his partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo, Zodiac), arrive at Shutter Island, an institution for the criminally insane, to investigate the strange disappearance of a patient. Once there, Teddy tries to dig deeper into the hospital's shady practices only to be met with repeated resistance from the hospital head, Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley, The Wackness). As a hurricane rages outside, Teddy worries Cawley and the staff may be conspiring against him.

The first of our lovers trio:

...The film started out kind of slow - it had a lot of dialogue in the beginning. Now, this is the type of movie that you need to pay attention to as there are many characters being introduced. Also, it's also set up as a sort of detective type movie.

From an audience perspective, it had kind of an eerie feeling and was very Alfred Hitchcock in style. (If you've seen this Hitchcock movie, which is among my favorites, the style is very similar).

Watch this gurl work the hell out of Shutter Island...

Joining in the fun is our second partner:

...Shutter Island delivers payoffs. Patience is required, especially through an abundance of expository dialogue, but when the film's questions are answered, the trip was worth taking. Kalogridis' script (based on Lehane's novel) spins a labyrinthian tale of mystery, deceit, and paranoia. Scorsese's visuals compliment the writing through its complexity of the writing. Pay close attention to the visuals, and especially the editing, and you'll appreciate the film much more than those who don't.

Head here for elgringo's explosive finish!

Have you ever tackled a 1000-piece puzzle? You go to the store and find one with an appealing image. The foreground is covered in colorful gardens with lush weeping willows while a meandering cobblestone trail leads to a looming castle in the distance. With such distinct sections, it should be easy to assemble. Then you get it home, dump it on the table and realize just how damn huge the sections of clear blue sky and grassy knolls are! Watching Shutter Island is as challenging as tackling that 1000-piece puzzle.

I'd seen trailers for this film fifty times over the past year, and was confident all the major plot points had been mapped out. Shutter Island proves that you may have all the pieces, but it's not satisfying until everything fits together. Director Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas) uses his masterful attention to editing, cinematography and symbolism to create a tense, enthralling story.

DiCaprio gives an excellent (and exceptionally athletic) performance as the easy-to-anger detective. The supporting characters are played by a slew of skillful character actors; Max von Sydow (Judge Dredd), John Carroll Lynch (Fargo), Ted Levine (Silence of the Lambs), Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children), Emily Mortimer (Match Point), Elias Koteas (Fallen) and Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April). I wouldn't normally do such a laundry list of actors, but they're all that good. Of them all, Michelle Williams's (The Station Agent) role is the one that stuck with me most; it reminds me she's the most talented actor to emerge from Dawson's Creek.

Shutter Island is a mystery set to a slow boil. Scorsese hand selected the ingredients and triple checked the recipe to prepare a story to stimulate your palate. Sure, McShyamalan's has served over a billion twists, but Scorsese's thriller really satisfies.


Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. Fuck it. I'm seeing this film now, probably tomorrow or Tuesday Matinee.

  2. Thanks for including me in your Movie Menage post. It's always interesting to see other reviews and opinions, nice post!

  3. What Film Gurl said. :)
    This is a cool feature. Glad I could have been a part of it.

  4. @film-book: I'll be looking for your review.

    @Film Gurl & elgringo: Glad you both approve. I figure every now and again folks want to hear more than my opinion.

  5. Jeez I have been slack. I haven't seen Shutter, Alice or The Crazies and I have a Ponyo Blu-ray review to write.

  6. I still need to see Ponyo. I'm behind on reviews, too. I just watched Daybreakers and Youth in Revolt, but I want to finish my Armored review first.

  7. Watched Shutter Island. Loved the ending. Writing a review on the film.

    The Crazies SUCKED!

    I have a lot of reviews to finish but site traffic is up so I am doing something right.

  8. I saw Crazies over the weekend - it did suck. So many plot contrivances to manipulate the story down a specific path.

    I'm sooooo behind in my reviews. I need to take a day and just bang out my backlog. That didn't sound right, did it?