Friday, 12 March 2010

Shutter Island - Review


Might as well get this little fact out of the way, I love Martin Scorsese's films. There's very few directors around these days, who truly value the art of the silver screen as he does, so whenever it comes a time for a new film by the cinematic maestro, you know you are definitely in for a treat. With his current favourite muse - like De Niro before him - Leonardo DiCaprio leading the way, Shutter Island is certainly no different.

Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island tells the story of a US Marshall (DiCaprio) who travels to a mysterious mental asylum on a remote island to investigate the disappearance of an inmate. True to form, the story takes some rather bizarre turns, leading the protagonist onto a bigger more disturbing revelation, while dealing with the personal demons of his own past in the process.

Instantly, from the opening scene, I was completely blown away by the striking visuals this film had to offer. The director turns the screen into a canvas, blending beautifully crafted images, with vibrant colours making Shutter Island first and foremost a brilliant film to consume the audience on a superficial level. The pace of the film must also be praised, despite its near two and a half hour running time, the story never left me wanting to check my watch or even give so much as a yawn.

Leonardo DiCaprio was glorious as always, seemingly nailing that Boston accent which was prevalent while watching Scorsese's epic Oscar-winning The Departed. His dark, brooding and intense portrayal of Teddy was equally as captivating as it was provocative. The supports were also wonderful, consisting of a classy ensemble featuring the fantastic Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams and the hard-working Mark Ruffalo. Special mention must go to the left-field appearance of Elias Koteas - to geeks of my age, Casey Jones from the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja/Hero Turtles films, honestly thought that guy was residing in the 'where are they now file'. Outstanding.

The film however is not without the odd fault, firstly some of the more mind melting moments of the story were a little disorientating. They were some of the best scenes constructed by Scorsese in years in a visual capacity, but made the main narrative slightly disjointed giving the impression the film was essentially going nowhere. It was also slightly disappointing that anyone with half a brain should be able to hazard a guess at the 'twist' revealed at the end.

Though the score was majestic, I felt it killed the mood in certain scenes, with its slightly over dramatic vibes during scenes which really did not need it, however these are all very small criticisms.

Final Thoughts
One of the masters of modern - and classic - cinema returns with a chilling, provocative and gritty psychological thriller. Regardless of whether you may guess the ending before the events are truly revealed, Shutter Island is without a doubt of the best films I have seen this year, so far. Distinguished performances combined with magnificent film-making. More of this please Marty...

4.5/5

See This If You Liked...
Playing Batman: Arkham Asylum on the X Box or Playstation 3.

Shutter Island is in cinemas everywhere now.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

i definitely did check my watch, once you know whats coming (pretty early on) its not the same. The trailor also made it look a lot scarier!