Shutter Island (2010)

Martin Scorsese directs Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley in this period murder mystery where a distracted Treasury Agent investigates the vanishing of an inmate on an island that houses an asylum and lots of lies.

The biggest mystery of a movie in love with puzzles… Is Shutter Island better as a one watcher or as something to be picked apart over repeated viewings? The first time watching you could get a little ahead of all the anagrams and mindfucks and double play so that when the big reveal happened you could pat yourself on the back that you were halfway there. And after a couple of return visits to Marty’s madhouse, I can take healthy pleasure in seeing clues, hints and hat tips throughout the first two acts. Some are obvious, as visible as a clear day, others hide in plain sight, there to kick you in the arse that you didn’t notice them when your mind was concentrating on the foreground plot. But then you have to sit through that lengthy tumbling of the final pieces. The big picture is given indulgent time to fix and set. That final half hour of summing up and tying off is painfully exacting by the third time we endure it. Still… this is the closest thing Marty has made to a horror, even more so than Cape Fear. The psychic trauma of The Shining hangs over it as visual colour chart. It is nightmarishly vivid to look at. DiCaprio puts in a committed turn. The cast is there with him as he tries to keep eyes front on the job at hand, not to get distracted by their ever rippling violence and conspiracies that emanate from his wiry, erratic sleuthing. So much good stuff threaded into a five finger exercise. But I’m not going to rush and watch Shutter Island a fourth time.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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