Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island (2010)

2010 R 138 Minutes

Drama | Thriller | Mystery

World War II soldier-turned-U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels investigates the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane, but his efforts are compromised by his own troubling vi...

Overall Rating

8 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: Very unlike the rest of his work, Martin Scorsese's 'Shutter Island,' is a film where you spend half of your time on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what's going on, and the other half waiting for the central character to catch up to the truth.

    All of that starts when we see a Marshall called Teddy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) arrive at a mental hospital to investigate the escape of a patient, only to be met by shady answers from the staff. We then find out that Teddy believes the facility is being run by the government to experiment on people after he realised his wife's murderer ended up there, and he worries that he's been brought there to be imprisoned for sniffing around.

    But there's far more mystery to the plot than any of that, as the sanity of Teddy himself is also delicately brought into question at the same time. We see many flashbacks to the death of his wife and his work in the holocaust whilst hearing stories about patients who are there because of similar tragedies. Staff constantly seem to exchange knowing glances and inmates seem to recognise him. Plus Chuck appears to act almost theatrically to lead him down certain investigatory paths. All of that rather brilliantly has you studying him to figure him out (an experience made all the more compelling by what a tragic life the character has apparently lived, and how DiCaprio broadcasts his convictions so well), and trying to work out from whose perspective you're seeing everything from.

    By roughly the halfway point, all of those teases make it pretty clear that Teddy is in fact an inmate, and that his investigation is just a ruse created by the staff to help him accept who he is. But it's still relatively compelling waiting for him to realise that and, in the end, tragically confront his reality.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The second half is certainly less engaging than the first, and you do get a sense that the film is trying to maintain an air of mystery even after all of its teasing has made the truth as clear as day.

    VERDICT: 'Shutter Island,' is a brilliant mystery movie that plays with perspective and slowly reveals a horrifying, tragic truth about its deluded central character who spends the film on an elaborate ruse to catch up.