Movie Review: Shutter Island (2010)

Posted: December 4, 2011 in Drama

It is 1954.  U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo Decaprio) and his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are hunting for a missing woman Rachel Solando (Patricia Clarkson) in Ashcliff, a hospital for the criminally insane.  Daniels, a former Army veteran during WWII is haunted by memories of liberating Dachau, the German concentration camp.  He is also haunted by the killing of his wife by one of the patients at Ashcliff, Andrew Laeddis (Elias Koteas) Daniels has also heard disturbing stories about experiments dine in Ashcliff from former college student George Noyce (Jackie Earle Haley) Is the administrator of the facility, Dr Cawley (Ben Kingsley) there to help Daniels and Aule find Rachel Solando?  Or is he there to cover up whatever may be going on at Ashcliff? Does Daniels find Laeddis and exact his revenge?

This is a plodding, meandering movie that feels twice as long as its 2 hour and 20 minute running time.  There are so many plots and subplots that are never fully developed, that by the time the viewer gets to the end of the film, he doesn’t care how it ends, at least I didn’t care.  Making matters worse, there is a plot twist in the last 20 minutes  that says to the viewer, “Forget what you’ve seen in the first two hours of this film, this is what really happened. “ Plot twists like this are to say the least annoying, not to mention confusing.  I expected no such filmmaking gimmickry from Martin Scorsese, director of such classics as Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and The Departed.  I don’t know what kind of movie Scorsese intended to make here, Hitchcockian psychological thriller, noir or just horror, but he’s not experienced as a horror or suspense director, so his attempts at shock and surprise fall flat.  DeCaprio seems overwrought as Teddy Daniels, like he’s trying to squeeze out emotion that he doesn’t really feel.  Kingsley and Ruffalo give bland, warmed over performances that belied a lack of conviction to their roles.

Shutter Island.  Shut it down.

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