It's hard not to have high expectations with Martin Scorsese. I mean, the man is a VERY talented director, and with his last effort "The Departed", it would seem as though he was back in the saddle and rearing to tear up the film industry again. So with that, its hard not to be disappointed with "Shutter Island". It's a film that you can't write off, certainly, but at times feels almost pretentious and a bit, dare I say, predictable?
Of course, this is Scoresese we are talking about so the directing is something to be admired. The attention to detail and the overall style of the film are amazing. From the getgo we have these purposeful details that don't fit together in the continuity sense which may bring out the film crazy in you. Characters shift between cuts, pieces of set go missing, and even music cues move in out of sequence order. Its enough to make you think that you are mad and its practically brilliant. I already want to see the film again to catch it all! Its this that makes this film the worth seeing initially.
Of course, once again we have Mr. DiCaprio working on the main character. It's not unusual to see him in a Scorsese film anymore, but his subtle decent into the island conspiracy as he struggles with his own inner demons makes his performance worth every second. I'm not a huge fan of his either so it takes some of my pride to say that this is his show. Of course his supporting cast is stellar. Mark Ruffalo and Kingsley steal their time too (although its less than they should have considering how well they did) and the combinations are pretty solid. The second reason to see this film.
Unfortunately, despite the valiant efforts of directing and acting this film does have its issues that prevents it from reaching the heights it could have. The story is somewhat too standard. It's easy to figure the ending within the first 45 minutes or so and by the end they very much beat you over the head with the twist. Granted it does pay off with the last moment of the film, but for over two hours instead of playing off as a sort of murder mystery that it initially set itself off to be, it becomes an odd character study. Although it works, there still could have been a little more depth to it to keep the audiences more entangled with the story instead of the acting and style.
"Shutter Island" works on a lot of levels but its main one, being a murder mystery, it seems to somewhat fail, which is somewhat disheartening considering all the great things it has to offer. I still highly recommend the film (multiple viewings would be nice as I found out) and the directing and performances are admirable. A good film, but not the great one I was expecting.
Written By Matt Reifschneider
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