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Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Shutter Island”

(Paramount. 2 hours, 18 minutes. Rated R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity. Directed by Martin Scorsese.) Leonardo DiCaprio (Teddy Daniels), Mark Ruffalo (Chuck Aule), Ben Kingsley (Dr. Cawley), Michelle Williams (Dolores Chanal), Max von Sydow (Dr. Jeremiah Naehring), Jackie Earle Haley (George Noyce). Music by Robbie Robertson.

Scorsese’s long-delayed fourth outing with DiCaprio is a psychological post-war thriller concerning two U.S. Marshals (DiCaprio, Ruffalo) summoned to a remote, barren island off the coast of Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a patient from a high-security facility for the criminally insane. Except DiCaprio has issues of his own, as he was a WWII veteran who was at the liberation of Dachau, and he’s haunted by his memories. I’m feeling the need to write an open letter to Mr. Scorsese:

“Dear Marty, I’ve admired you all the way back to Mean Streets and Taxi Driver. But I fear that with Shutter Island you didn’t focus-group the end result. Did anyone besides your immediate family or yes-men watch this? And could they follow it, or get bogged down in all the fantasies, hallucinations, and flashbacks, and just give up somewhere along the way? Because that’s what happened to me. Granted, I was back into the proceedings in the last half-hour or so, which was well done. Before that, though, were nearly two hours of scenes which played as confusing, boring, talky, distasteful, or everything at once. And your sound mix was distracting: why were the sound effects so LOUD? I have no quibbles with the casting or the performers, particularly Leo, your current muse. You’ve helped him mature as an actor and he’s quite solid here with everything he’s asked to do (and that’s a lot). I’m still on your side, Marty, and I really can’t imagine anyone but you and Leo taking on the ‘definitive’ Frank Sinatra biography you’re planning. I wish you luck with that. But too much of Shutter Island sinks under the weight of your plot devices before it gets to shore.”