I saw this movie about 5 weeks ago while I was in Montreal. I had heard mixed things about it but as I like Leo and had never seen a Scorsese film I didn’t like I had good expectations. How wrong I was. What a terrible terrible movie and I can’t understand how it was made by the same director or The Departed and Goodfellas. Many of the comments I had read on the movie stated something along the lines of if Scorsese was not the director the movie would have been rightly criticize and that is something I wholeheartedly agree with.
I had an idea from the previews that it might have been the type of movie where everything is not as it seems and there may be a twist or to. Alternatively I thought that it would be the story of something terrible going wrong on the island and the marshal being imprisoned to prevent exposure. If only that was the story. What the movie was instead was the idea of a reality not being what it seems. The same concept that had been dealt with by films such as Identity, Gothika and The Sixth Sense in far superior ways.
The main problem with this movie is that from the start subtlety is thrown out the window. If you’re going to do the type of film that draws the protagonists reality into doubt you have to do so carefully, always giving reasons to doubt not reasons to draw a conclusion straight away. That’s the problem with Shutter Island. When a US Marshall was forced to surrender his gun to a hospital it was not implausible. But as things continued and occurrences such as two orderlies restraining the marshal not being remarked on at all then the answer was clear. Given that the protagonist loses the suit less than halfway through the film and sleeps with the other patients…well nothing is left to the imagination.
By the time the big reveal comes it has already been painfully obvious to anyone watching the movie, making the hour leading up to that moment a waste of time. The cinematography and acting were fine, just the decision to make the twist so obvious from so early on ruined the film for me. Perhaps Scorsese was going for something that I missed or didn’t end up working. Or perhaps he just isn’t suited to making these types of movies. Even so, one bad movie out of over 20 amazing movies isn’t a bad track record and I hope he continues to maintain this average.