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Shutter Island
BLU-RAY disk
06.08.2010 By: Chris Bumbray
Shutter Island order
Director:
Martin Scorsese

Actors:
Leonardo DiCaprio
Mark Ruffalo
Ben Kingsley

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In Boston, circa 1954, two U.S Marshals (Leonardo DiCaprio & Mark Ruffalo) are sent to the remote Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane on Shutter Island, to investigate the disappearance of an inmate.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I had a more mixed reaction to SHUTTER ISLAND than I anticipated when I saw it earlier this year. Martin Scorseseís probably my favorite filmmaker, with him being responsible for more out and out masterpieces than any other modern filmmaker. MEAN STREETS, TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, GOODFELLAS, CAPE FEAR, CASINO, THE DEPARTED. Even his misfires, like NEW YORK, NEW YORK or BRINGING OUT THE DEAD are better than the average film.

SHUTTER ISLAND is probably best described as second-tier Scorsese. Itís not one of his classics, but itís a damn solid film that ranks with movies like ALICE DOESNíT LIVE HERE ANY MORE, KING OF COMEDY, AFTER HOURS, GANGS OF NEW YORK and THE AVIATOR. For any other director, any of these films would be a triumph, but the fact that these are considered second-tier for Scorsese only proves what a master he truly is.

SHUTTER ISLAND is obviously Scorseseís homage to Stanley Kubrickís THE SHINING, and it also mixes in a few references to the canon of Val Lewton, who was producer back in the forties that made a series of incredible psychological horror flicks that any horror fan owes to themselves to check out.

The setting for SHUTTER ISLAND is perfect- a remote insane asylum, partially shut down by a major storm. Leonardo DiCaprio is perfect as the tortured federal marshal sent to Ashecliffe to track down a missing patient. DiCaprioís really come into his own thanks to Scorseseís guidance, and the two work beautifully together. Ben Kingsley also puts in an appearance as a psychologist, and itís nice to see Kingsley in a good film for a change.

My problem with SHUTTER ISLAND mostly concerns the conclusion, which I thought was predictable in its unpredictability if that makes any sense. It goes for a mindfuck ending which is all too common these days, and it feels like a cop-out. It actually really pissed me off when I saw this in theaters, but I appreciated more seeing it a second time. I also wish more had been done with DiCaprioís memories of WW2, and the horror of the Dacau death camp, which I thought were very disturbing and well done- and makes me hope that one day Scorsese makes a war film.

THE EXTRAS
Considering SHUTTER ISLAND was such a big hit, you would think Paramount would have loaded this baby up with extras, but alas- there's nothing here but two featurettes. Behind The Shutters and Into The Lighthouse are both straight-forward production pieces, although both are in HD, and offer up a lot of interesting soundbites with Scorsese.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
While I had a few problems with it, SHUTTER ISLAND is still a pretty damn good film. Second-tier Scorsese is better than first-tier for most directors. Like a lot of Scorseseís films, this actually improves on second viewing, and even if you only half-liked it theatrically, you should give it another spin on disc.

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