Look at me! Being all relevant and stuff!
I've been chomping at the bit to catch this movie for a really long time now. I'm a bit of a Scorsese fan girl (Though honestly, nothing can beat the masterpiece that is Goodfellas in my opinion). I saw the trailer ages ago in the theater and thought that it looked fantastic. Then I promptly forgot about the film and moved on to other things coming out. I was reminded of it by a couple TV bumpers and seeing it listed on IMDB as an upcoming release. So overall my exposure to the film was kinda nil other than that first trailer I saw oh so long ago. The only thing I really knew about the movie was it was a period piece, it involved an insane asylum, and there was some really creepy imagery in it. Overall I was a complete clean slate. And frankly, that's how I recommend you see this film. The less you know about it, the more intriguing it is.
I don't consider it the best thriller I've ever seen and I don't think its a masterpiece on par with the Departed, Taxi Driver, or Goodfellas. But its extremely intense, beautifully shot, and it had my interest from beginning to end. Definitely in my top five Scorsese films. So in my opinion, it was worth the price of admission and the drive out to the theater.
Even though I don't want to give much of the story away, here's a bit of the basic plot. Teddy Daniels (played by a jittery Leo DiCaprio) is a Federal Marshal who is sent to the infamous Shutter Island asylum to investigate the disappearance of a female patient. And from there its total mind fuck chaos. That's really all you need to know.
Unfortunately I plan to gloss over a lot of this movie because I rather not give anything away. But you can expect a film more along the lines of Silence of the Lambs and Session 9. Actually it has a LOT more in common with Session 9. The group I saw it with figured out the film in a heart beat. I myself really enjoyed the whole unfolding of the story and was always trying to guess what was going on. Now I don't know what that says about me. Maybe I'm an idiot while my friends are super movie savants. But damn it, it had me guessing every frame and never ceased to surprise me.
Visually I loved this movie with a passion. Its as if a Hitchcock film and a Kubrick film had a moody little baby. It uses many of the classic noir looks, lighingt, and at many times monochromatic coloring. Yet the film is sprinkled with crazy cuts to creepy unsettling imagery that hearkens back to The Shining. The music is wonderfully erratic and at first seems almost out of place. As the film goes on you notice how the music is used to create tension and disorientation. Even the acting style is stylized, feeling like the old 1950's noir films which later on falls into more naturalized acting..with reason I assure you. Everything in this film is deliberate and demands that the film be watched again.
There's really not much else I can say about this film without giving it away. And like I said earlier, the best part of the movie is going in completely blank.
If you're looking more for a Scorsese horror film, check out his remake of Cape Fear instead. If you like movies like Session 9, Memento, Silence of the Lambs, or any type of thriller that screws with your mind you'll like Shutter Island. Its not a fast paced gore fest of scare but a intense, well acted, and beautifully shot film. Check it out!