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4.2 out of 5 stars474
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 13 December 2010
Shutter Island is very much the modern equivalent of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. The film covers a wide variety of themes. Most prevalent is the question, "How do I know I am not insane?" But there are also plenty of other areas covered including, inter alia, murder, justice, medical ethics, the Holocaust, McCarthy-eque paranoia and responsibility for one's own actions.

The film is relatively complex and certainly requires a second viewing in order to fully grasp the plot's twists and turns. It all begins straightforwardly enough, though there is a slow descent into a place where things just don't quite add up. The mixture of hallucinations and real life action may be off-putting for some viewers, but not for me. The fact that they are confusing scenes only conveys the confusion in the mind of the protagonist, and not any form of fuzzy thinking on the part of the director.

The casting of the film is very good, as is the acting. DiCaprio's performance is very similar to that which he had in Inception, which I understand was filmed around the same time as Shutter Island. But DiCaprio is only one actor, and one good performance doesn't make a great film. Ben Kingsley's portrayal as a psychiatrist trying to be a pioneer in his field is highly noteworthy, though not in the same league as his acting in Gandhi or Schindler's List. The film is given a sombre gravitas from the presence of Max von Sydow and a rare return to limelight from Ted Levine was most welcome.

So why give this 4 stars instead of 5? Well, the stylisation didn't feel right. Set in the 1950s, it just didn't feel authentic. There seemed to be some 60s influences in there (particularly with the scenes set away from the asylum) and the aesthetics and the vernacular in the script just seemed too up-to-date. The end of the film is bleakly fatalistic, but it is also somewhat deterministic. Given that the fundamental question posed regards sanity, I think the film would have benefited more by an open ending, whereby the story which is eventually revealed is made more questionable than it has been.
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on 15 October 2015
A film of much mystery, intrigue and intelligence, Scorsese is back on form here, and in every sense-of-the-word with his return to what traditional filmmaking is all about. Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), a US marshal, is sent to a remote island to investigate the disappearance of an inmate from a private hospital-prison-like fortress, which seems a near impossibility. But he discovers all isn't what it turns out to be, as he uncovers the truth behind what is in fact going on. Beginning pretty much at a frantic pace, and literally keeping you on the edge all throughout (and I really do mean this...), this is a pyschological thriller/mystery of old, full of twists and turns, bring memories of Hitchcock classics and early Polanksi. The use of sound, especially, along with the dark imagery, keep you feeling unnerved, disturbed, and uncomfortable all the way through, something not seen in cinema for many years - yes, this is Hollywood returning to the 80s and 90s when creativity and innovation use to thrive. Scorsese, with his handling and use of filmic conventions, shows all the artistic gest and vigor lacking from many filmmakers of the modern era (though maybe that's because he is Scorsese and he can do what he wants). The acting performances are brilliant, and the sheer surreal and abstract depiction of its narrative-pattern is solidly backed up with its ending, which really does draw and bring things together, making it all the more rewarding and valid (you'll see what I mean). This is definitely a film that requires more than one viewing to fully grasp what is going on, and to fully appreciate the time and effort that has gone into creating the narrative (just don't read up on it or you'll ruin it for yourself). There are no real special-effects, no pointless explosions, no supermodel-looking cast, no MTV music - this is proper filmmaking. And it is all the better for it. You will literally be holding your breath from beginning-to-end, and the whole team behind this need to be commended. This is film as it was made for the cinema. A solid art form.
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on 12 December 2010
Scorsese and DiCaprio, together they make one of the best films of the year and arguably my favorite DiCaprio film. Ruffalo and DiCaprio make a great team as two U.S marshals who go to Shutter Island to solve a missing persons case which turns out to be a little more complicated than it first seemed.
This is a brilliantly dark film which kept me guessing right till the very end. The island itself is dark, gloomy and full with unanswered questions which will have you changing your mind about the ending right through to the grand finale. Kinglsey gives a good performance as usual playing the oddly reluctant and mysterious head of the institution of who's motives are not clear until the end.
The bottom line is, if you like DiCaprio, Scorsese or even just a damn good watch then i highly suggest you give this film a chance, you wont be disappointed.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 19 September 2012
Di Caprio plays a US Marshall in a film set in 1954 on an island near Boston that is home to a hospital for the criminally insane. A patient has escaped and he's there with his partner to investigate.

If you have read the book Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane, this film will probably disappoint. I was disappointed, anyway. And if you haven't read it, you should read it first and avoid this film altogether. Personally I could not separate what I was watching from my (very good) memories of the novel, and in a way I was on to a loser because I knew in advance what it was all about. The thing is, Lehane made a much better job of the written story than Scorcese did in making this film.

Whether it's a film or a book, this story's ace card is the twist, but whereas in the book it was - to me, at least - a genuine surprise, in the film there's really hardly any surprise at all, and the warning signals are there from a very early stage. As a result, with almost nothing in the way of surprises, the film depends on other things to entertain. From a technical point of view, it's outstanding in the high-definition screenplay, but I was astonished to learn in the end credits that multiple Oscar-winner Thelma Schoonmaker did the editing, because this was a film that for once I was thinking about the poor editing almost from the outset. When Teddy and Chuck are on the ferry on their way to Shutter Island, the errors are almost comical in the ease with which even the untrained eye can see. Yet the cinematography was of a very high standard. But in the end, the most obvious thing of all (and which shouldn't be obvious in the slightest) is 'what it's all about'. It seems that Scorcese has made a deliberate attempt to erase that element that was such a key strength in the written version. Instead, he plays on the imagination not of us the viewers, but of central character Teddy Daniels - he regularly and from an early stage shows how traumatised Teddy is, by way of PTSD after the Dachau concentration camp in WW2 and more particularly by way of his nightmare visions of his late wife. I can expect that 90% of anyone unfamiliar with this tale seeing the film for the first time will 'get it', but too soon! In the book, the character of Teddy Daniels as a US Marshall is far more convincing, which goes a long way towards creating the shocking revelation that exists in the book but not in the film. Maybe Scorsese couldn't have done it better, I'll never know, but the one thing I am sure of is that I enjoyed Lehane's novel twice as much.

Instead what we do have here is an impressive visual experience with heavy dashings of the surreal, but the best part of the story is somehow lost in the technical cleverness. It's a shame, because the book is so good.
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`Shutter Island' is a thriller set in the fifties which follows two US Marshals who are investigating an escape at an institute for the criminally insane. The asylum is on an island and they get stranded there after a big storm sweeps in after their arrival. They have to work out how the patient escaped and what other sinister things have been occurring on the island before it is all too late. Di Caprio plays Edward Daniels, one of the Marshals, who is also traumatised by his past during and after the war and he relives some of this history via flashbacks throughout the film.

This had a dark, sinister feel to it from the word go and you are very quickly drawn into the intrigue and mystery on the island. You are unsure whether the head doctor is trustworthy or not and the other patients also add a surreal element to the proceedings. Everyone plays their roles very well and Kingsley is especially noteworthy as the head doctor. This is excellently directed by Scorsese and the soundtrack also adds to the tension, as any good score should.

This has a twist in the end, that although fairly predictable, still ties things up neatly and gives you food for thought long after you've finished watching. More and more scenes become clearer as you think back and characters motivations make more sense. All in all this is a good thriller with solid performances from the whole cast and it keeps you engaged for the two hour duration. Worth a look at some point.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 9 April 2015
A real 'edge-of-the-seat thriller' which will leave you spellbound. DiCaprio exudes vulnerability as the Marshall determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of 'Shutter Island' (won't go into detail as it would spoil plot). We see him becoming more and more embroiled in the intrigue, and more and more confused, but determined to find the mysterious Laeddis. His motives for visiting change as the plot progresses; mind games are played and the culmination is an explosive revelation... Watch it to find out! Brilliant.
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I'd give this 7/10, but this one rounds up to 4/5. It isn't perfect, but it's intriguing enough, with good performances and plot twists- despite a familiar theme- to be well worth a watch.

A spoiler is coming, but it is an obvious one.

The best thing in this is Di Caprio. I never thought, from the sheer awfulness of movies like Titanic and Romeo & Juliet, that I'd say that, but through The Beach, The Aviator and Inception amongst others, he's shown excellent, improving performances.

This has familiar themes for him, a descent into madness (The Aviator) and yearning for a lost wife (Inception), and a plot that really makes the film like an upmarket Hammer movie where- was it Robert Powell- who ended up as actually being the patient ? Well, the plot of the movie is really about how we get to that point, but genuinely, it really is good.

All the other players turn in good performances. The verbal fencing with Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow is excellent, and I'd have liked to see more. There are some quite good twists, and a few really odd parts, but that's to be expected from the subject.

For me, only Inception beats this as a Di Caprio movie.

Well worth a watch, and perhaps a straight 4 stars, but not five.
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on 19 May 2015
It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital.

He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister.

Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open.

This has to be the most non-Scorcese Scorcese movie ever made, and it shows that he can master any genre he tackles. From the upstart, the film is startlingly grim and has a cold, dirty feel to it, and you immediately know from the mood the film exudes, something isn't right.

Dicaprio proves again he is a magnificent actor, moving further away from his teen heart-throb status he once had, to becoming a convincing leading man. Gone is the boyish charm he had in recent movies.

The sets of the movie are fantastical and do sometimes hint to the shining in places, and the subliminal hallucinations Teddy has, are as unnerving as any conventional horror. The trailer did look like this was going to be some sort of psychological horror, but this could not be further from the truth.

This is a film about wanting to forget past traumas, and putting on a facade when you cannot face reality, and this is intricate to the films plot.

As the film progresses, you get a claustrophobic feel, and begin to empathise with Teddys helplessness, as he and his world begin to spiral out of control.

By the end, you realise that Teddy takes the ultimate sacrifice by wanting to forget something that affected his life so much.

All of the cast are splendid, and although some of the editing is dire, this is still a must see.
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Martin Scorsese has given us a film depiction of the inglorious book written by Dennis Lehane. The book was an abrupt turn from the kind of books Lehane had written. The book was a best seller and this film should be right there up with the novel.

Leonardo DiCaprio delivers an exquisite performance as the Federal Marshall who comes to Shutter Island to solve the mystery of a lost woman patient. Shutter Island is an Insane Asylum for the Criminally Insane, and quite an island it is. Off the coast of Boston Harbor this island is one of your worst nightmares. Marshall Teddy Daniels and his new partner, played by Mark Ruffalo, team up together to solve the mystery. But, what they find is a series of mysteries upon mysteries, and the more they
look, the more bizarre the situation becomes. Bit by bit Teddy becomes more involved and caught up in the nightmare of the treatments that are occurring on this island. The anxiety that becomes Teddy becomes our anxiety and the old Nazi captains and the stories of children drowning become more real. Take a ride with Teddy in this insane, mad world. What you will discover is so antithetical to anything you ever believed possible. This is a glorious tale, told with the majesty of Martin Scorsese. The soundtrack from Robbie Robertson is ominous and stunning.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 06-01-13
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 August 2010
This film reminds me in a way of the 2003 film with John Cusack , Identity , as what at first seems real & sucks you in, is not what you think it is come the end. I dont want to say anymore than that about the story really, as it may give too much away & spoil it. Anyway, the film was very entertaining overall, although it could had done with being 30 minutes or so shorter imo, it was like 2 1/2 hours long which seemed a bit too much, but these stories tend to be complex & long winded in this case to get across, i guess.

This is very much a slow burning film i would say, where there isnt all that much action going on & a good portion of the film is based around flashbacks. So the ability of the actors, mainly Dicaprio, is what this film rides on, and Dicaprio did a great job in all honesty, carrying the film. Personaly by the end i thought it was a decent film, and it did make you wonder what the real truth was come the end & if indeed it was THE truth. If you want a break from action films, and just want to curl up in the dark with some Chinese take away one evening, you cant go wrong with this really. Worth a watch.
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