It took me until mid-April to finally get around to seeing Martin Scorsese’s new film Shutter Island, which was released in February. So at this point, it would be naive of me to believe anyone gives a shit what a low-rent review blogger feels about this movie at this point.
However, the big boss man Zac Pritcher won’t pay me my monthly salary ($15) unless I actually contribute something, so I will chronicle my opinions on this most disappointing film.
Shutter Island tells the story of widowed war veteran Boston detective Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is haunted by the memory of his dead wife and the traumatic happenings he encountered during his time of service.
With the assistance of his new partner (Mark Ruffalo), Daniels is called to a mysterious mental asylum to locate an escaped resident. Naturally, once they get within the parameters of the establishment, crazy things start to happen, and Daniels suspects there is a lot more to the island than meets the eye, and fears he may actually be a pawn in a demented game.
The first major problem I had with this movie is DiCaprio’s performance. I generally don’t find him to be a bad actor, but he badly over does it here with the same accent he came just short of running into the ground in The Departed. With nearly every line, Dicaprio is essentially standing on a soap box with a megaphone shouting “I’M FROM BAAHSTON YA SEE! IF YOU NEED FUTHA CONFAMATION OF THAT FACT, JUST GET IT FROM MY PAHTNA HEAH!” Granted I’ve never been to Boston, but I assume they at least speak like real human beings, as opposed to Saturday Night Live sketch characters.
As for the movie, I gained a general impression of the direction it was going in very early, but kept my skepticism in check, as I was optimistic one of the greatest filmmakers to ever live would at least have the inventiveness to not give this psychological thriller the same ending we’ve see from nearly every psychological thriller that has come out since that movie about those guys who decided to fight in that club.
I should have maintained my cynicism.
And while I will give this movie credit for keeping my interest all the way to the end, that just made it all the more depressing when it ended with just another variation of the same ending we always see in these movies. I won’t give the specifics away (though anyone who somehow deciphered my brilliantly subtle Fight Club metaphor will realize I already sort of did) but if you have paid any attention to any movie of this genre over the past decade plus, you won’t be overly alarmed when you discover who the real bad guy is. And while this movie doesn’t come about its resolution in a dishonest way, it still doesn’t make it any less unnecessary.
And my final complaint is that after we are given a thorough explanation of everything we’ve seen, the movie then decides it needs to show us what happened, even though visual aide simply isn’t necessary and doesn’t add anything to the final product. Initially I was just disappointed. By the time I walked out of the theater, I was disappointed and bored.
Martin Scorsese is a legend and, for the most part, is deserving of the praise that has been given to him by millions of film fans. That’s why it’s so perplexing to see him drawn to material that is sort of beneath him. Now, I have no problem with him breaking from his crime drama “comfort zone,” but if he’s going to do so, he can do better than this. Had I not known going in this was a Scorsese film, I would have been stunned to see his name show up during the end credits.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Shutter Island is a terrible movie, or even a bad one, it’s just sort of unnecessary. Scorsese has made so many good (The Departed), great (Goodfellas) and even near-perfect (Raging Bull) movies, I would encourage anyone to re-watch those before giving this low-rent psycho-thriller the time of day.
Final Score: 5.2/10 (Mediocre)