Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shutter Island (2010)

Director: Martin Scorsese. Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, Ted Levine, Elias Koteas, John Carroll Lynch. 138 min. Rated R. Thriller/Horror.

We've seen psychological thrillers with a twist, but Shutter Island expands the genre one step further. In The Sixth Sense, A Beautiful Mind, or The Others, a crucial story twist suddenly gives every plot element a different meaning. Shutter plays a very different (and mind-boggling) game: At the end, is DiCaprio really ___ , or is he not? Scorsese makes us as the viewer doubt our own sanity. I always thought Cape Fear (another psychological thriller) was Scorsese's best. Shutter proves Scorsese's as good at this genre as gangster movies. Very highly recommended, even though it'll mess up your mind.

(Warning: A reader advised me to warn parents about watching this movie. Not to warn about the kids watching it; to warn the parents about watching it.)

Mo says:


  1. spoiler alert!
    all the actors really starred in the film! honestly I found the subject at the end a bit repetitious that somebody is living in his imagination ...may be its because of that I've recently seen " a beautiful mind" again without censorship!
    finally I can say it was a film that can transfix you for nearly 3 hours staring at the screen!

  2. Spoiler alert here too!

    I think the "presumed" ending to the story is that DiCaprio is a delusional schizophrenic. But is he really?

    Remember, the runaway doctor (Patricia Clarkson) tells him in the cave: As soon as they label you as being crazy, people will conform everything you say to that diagnosis.

    So is Scorsese playing a game with us here? Does he label DiCaprio as crazy at the end, just to see our reaction? To see if we will conform whatever we have seen during the entire movie, to the actions of a schizo?

    That's why I believe Scorsese has taken psychological drama to a new level. We cannot say for sure that DiCaprio is crazy at the end.

  3. So what is your version of what happened (if he wasn't in fact delusional)?

    And easy on MojoMagic! ;-)

  4. My opinion: DiCaprio is completely sane. He'd probably come in to investigate the island, but the system did away with him - the way it cleverly does away with any intruder.

    And isn't that how all totalitarian systems work? You're the "enemy/psycho/unpatriotic/spy/..."?