In 1954, two chain smoking, trench coat abusing Federal Marshals; Teddy (DiCaprio) and Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) drop on a loony bin housing island to look into the baffling disappearance of a chick patient… they discover way more than they had bargained for.
Don't you get it? You're a rat in a maze. - George Noyce:
I’m not going to bullshit you, SHUTTER ISLAND’s release date bump (it was supposed to come out in October 2009 but was pushed to February 2010) messed with me in the sense that I saw the trailer(s) for it so many times, that by December 2009, I’d groan like a bear wiping his ass with a NO NAME brand of tushy paper every time it would air. But funnily enough, that never diminished by enthusiasm for seeing the movie. I mean lets face it; even with his misses in tow (yes, I hated Gangs of New York) it’s MARTIN SCORSESE aka one of the best directors of our time doing a genre flick, starring my generations De Niro: Leonardo DiCaprio. Hard to not get pumped for a sucka with that kind of ammo in its clip. So it was with my hopes sky high that I sailed to SHUTTER ISLAND ready to party and I thankfully came out of it with a hang over.
Based on Dennis Lehane’s successful 2003 novel of the same name (he also penned MYSTIC RIVER and GONE BABY GONE), SHUTTER ISLAND reeled me in early via it’s THE SHINING-ish opening areal shots. Right there, I knew that I was in for some old school horror…and for me…old school…usually means…GOOD SHIT! Although the flick’s core raison d'etre was predictable on SOME levels and the script was a tad too patchy in places the whole still made for quite the horror ride. Yup I had been at this club before, but not with Scorsese DJ-ing and let me tell you, the dude took this fairly been there done that tune and scratched it to an all new realm of f*ck yeah via his undeniable talent. This was a morbidly gorgeous film to gawk at. Camera wise, Scorsese was all over it, with striking areal photography, solid steady-cam work, potent close ups and push-ins. Scorsese’s genius use of silence and stillness whooped hard as well. There were moments in this one that literally sent chills up my crotch and down to my toes. The stellar production designs, dread filled cinematography, arresting locations and sturdy editing got three cherries too! You couldn’t ask for more aesthetically from a movie. Fantastic!
Story wise, I was owned at frame one and engrossed the whole way. My experience was akin to putting together a puzzle or figuring out where the cheese is at within a cracked out maze. The immediate task at hand had me by the balls (finding the missing loon), the emotionally charged scenes moved me while the hints of “more going on” kept slamming me for a loop the loop. Another plus here was the lead's perturbed psyche. It not only resulted in a gnarly hero to follow around but also gave Scorsese carte blanche to go buck-nuts with stylish and eerie visuals. The hero’s WW2 trauma, his guilt over his wife… can you spell Nightmare on Leo Street? This flick sure can and did so with gutso! Speaking of Leo; big props to the man! He’s the best actor of his generation for a reason; he sells it every damn time! I can’t think of an actor that cries with more oomph than the Big D. Same went for Mark Ruffalo, who took a thin role and beefed it up by way of charm, presence and chops. Man I love that guy! And I got to spit it: Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Michelle Williams, Jackie Earle Haley, Ted Levine (whose key acting scene with Leo was simply amazing), John Carroll Lynch and Elias Koteas. I actually don’t need to say much else. Scorsese knows how to cast (and in this case, in his story’s layers favor) and owes his casting agents some lengthy muff diving time.
Add to all brilliance, a smooth ass pace that made this 2 hours plus film fly by, a powerful score (classic ditties picked out by music supervisor Robbie Robertson) that upped the weight of the affair, some genuinely suspenseful/haunting bits, razor dialogue and an ending that lingered with me long after it had drop kicked me and you get my top film of 2010 thus far. On the sane side of the nut, like I vomited before, it did have some airs of déjà vu and its secrets' flavor was somewhat obvious. Furthermore, some of the green screen work was pretty damn weak if you ask me or my sock puppet Charlie. But them weaknesses didn’t come close to pissing on the rousing experience this was for me. SHUTTER ISLAND gave me two hours plus of talent filled, highly compelling, often mind numbing and mucho satisfying horror love. It harked back to the good old days when people were making films not overlong music video or cock itch commercials. Scorsese is back! Recognize!
We get dead bodies, a damaged face, a mangled head, bullet wounds and enough blood to fill three healthy pints.
Alas, no female candy here but the ladies and everybody else that gobbles them will enjoy seeing a couple of matter of fact dongs in the film.
Nobody does it better than Scorsese on top of his game and this was one of them times! It’s funny… my boys and I we’re talking shit last night, saying that movies have been so weak now of late, that flicks that were average in the 80’s and 90’s come across as masterpieces when you watch them today. And after that, I see a film like SHUTTER ISLAND, one that was classically and masterfully shot, by a REAL filmmaker and with actors who gave it their all as if Oscar was at stakes. One that was tension laced, poignant, spooky and entertaining throughout because it didn’t solely stimulate the thumper but the gray matter as well. So thank you Mr. Scorsese for giving me a well rounded and refreshingly old fashioned horror "one-two-uppercut” to digest over here! Sure the story wasn’t as smooth and novel as it thought it was and the green screen guy needs to go back to Dunkin' Donuts to work the cash (after my shift is done of course) but the visceral cha-cha that was sitting through this one easily made up for them muck ups. SHUTTER ISLAND, I will visit you again…soon at that! Get my room and sedatives ready!
Robert Downey Jr. and Josh Brolin.were considered for the role of Chuck. Am happy that Ruffalo got it.
Shutter Island opened at #1 during its opening weekend, raking in about 40 million clams. It's Scorsese and DiCaprio biggest box office opening ever.
The flick was initially gonna be directed by Wolfgang Petersen.
VISIT THE SHUTTER ISLAND SITE HERE