Martin Scorcese has a winning combination of Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley and a strong supporting cast. Then he has a suspenseful script and a spooky location and it should all equal an amazing movie…right? I wish I could say this is a blockbuster film, a quality followup to his award-winning “The Departed”. But I can’t. Actually, “Shutter Island” sputters along, reveling in all of the above almost to a point where it becomes TOO predictable, and that is where it suffers.
DiCaprio is Marshall Teddy Daniels, a former military man who is sent to the insane asylum island to investigate the case of a woman who has mysteriously disappeared from her holding cell. Once there, he & his partner, Mark Ruffalo, find the going tough as the doctors & nurses are very quiet on what has happened or how she could have escaped. During a hurricane, both investigators find they are trapped on the island and things are getting stranger with each passing night. It’s a great idea, however I found that Scorcese gives away too much as the film progresses and the “twist” ending isn’t exactly a surprise. As a matter of fact, if the movie hadn’t ended the way it did, I would have been very surprised. So it kind of jumps the shark, even though it doesn’t (if that doesn’t make any sense to you, it will after you see the movie).
As for the cast, it is superb. DiCaprio is excellent (as usual) and everyone has a meaty role. Ruffalo does well as Daniels’ partner, Kingsley is his usual superb self as the Chief Psychiatrist and Max von Sydow is limited in his role but effective. Patricia Clarkson & Jackie Earl Haley both make appearances and leave a mark on the film.
And the location is perfect. Shot in Maine & Massachusetts, the ocean and the island itself play a huge role as the asylum and the island cliffs and woodlands take on a life of their own. They are almost like characters themselves, weaving themselves into the plot of the movie.
Needless to say, the directing is great and the cinematography is perfect. The soundtrack is a little annoying, but I can live with that. So it’s somewhat disappointing that I can’t give this film a “2 thumbs up'” It is a testiment to Scorcese and his amazing track record that this film doesn’t even rank in his Top 10 best. Any other director, this might have been the diamond in the rough. But for him, it’s simply a decent movie.
Overall Rating: B-