The moment those foghorns blasted and the forlorn music played at the start of Shutter Island, I knew right away that I’m in for a treat. The mood was already set – dark and somber with a feeling of loneliness and isolation.
I first saw the movie poster for Shutter Island last year and I knew right away that this would be my type of movie. I later learned that it will be based on a novel by Dennis Lehane (Not knowing that he was also the author of Mystic River). So I sought out this book and read it right away so I could finish it well in advance before the movie is finally shown in theaters.
The revelations at the end of the novel really blew me away. It lingered long after I’ve read the novel. Dennis Lehane instantly became one of my favorite authors after reading Shutter Island. Since that time, I ‘ve been waiting impatiently for the movie version to be shown in local theaters. And for some reason the opening was delayed until April of this year.
Now back to the movie. Let me just say that Leonardo DiCaprio (as Teddy Daniels), delivered one of his best performances in this movie, bar none! And even Mark Ruffalo (Chuck Aule), whom I’ve watched only in light comedies before, held his own and actually delivered. Other notable performances were from Ben Kingsley as Dr. Cawley (He’s great as usual!) and a small cameo by Jackie Earle Haley (One of the best character actors, IMHO!) as the tortured George Noyce. For the exceptional direction, we have to thank Martin Scorsese for another job well done!
The story began as Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule, two U.S. Marshalls, headed out to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a prisoner, or as Dr. Cawley would have preferred, a patient. They had decided to quickly interview the personnel and go back to Boston but unfortunately they were stuck in Shutter Island due to a hurricane. As the investigation progressed, or should I say regressed, things started to get weird. Was Teddy seeing things? What did the missing pri-, I mean patient, had to do with Teddy? Was there a conspiracy? Was that Robert de Niro?
It would be best not to reveal too much at this point since that would ultimately spoil the movie. In this movie, the beauty is in the discovery. I had that much of a kick as I read the novel since I discovered the twists on my own. But knowing those twists didn’t spoil my movie-watching experience since this time around I was looking forward on how well the material had been translated to the big screen. And I was not disappointed! It was truly a faithful and excellent adaptation with an equally memorable and haunting soundtrack (Gotta look for the OST).
Shutter Island is not a horror movie in the purest sense as some viewers might have deducted from watching the trailers. It is an intelligently written psychological suspense thriller with some horrific scenes scattered here and there. This movie is so good that it definitely deserved a second watching.