Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TRH Movie - Shutter Island

Oh, how it disappointed me. I actually fell asleep in places and found it all kind of tedious. Don't get me wrong, I love Scorsese, DiCaprio and Lehane in equal measures, but the combination here didn't quite work. The movie wasn't scary enough -- sure it looked beautiful, the storm scenes were particularly awesome -- and there were way, way, way too many flashbacks. The whole picture could have been shorter, tighter and creepier.

As Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) pukes down below a ferry taking him and his partner, Chuck (Mark Ruffalo), across the harbour from Boston to Shutter Island, an infamous institution for the criminally insane, the film sets up the premise: what is exactly going on over there? As US Marshals, Teddy and Chuck are there to investigate the disappearance of one of the patients/inmates, a young woman who drowned her three children. As the weather gets worse, so does the state of the case, and soon Teddy and Chuck are embroiled in a "is it all as it seems" plot that plods forward.

The film never picked up steam. Sure, the performances were fantastic, the assembled cast quite amazing, but there was just something missing -- ahem, action -- that would keep the film from stalling left, right and centre. I kept asking my RRHB if he recognized the twist, and he picked it up sooner than I did when I was reading the book (read: not until the end when I gasped and said, "NO!" and then had to reread the last few pages again). But a good twist does not a good movie make if you can't build it up properly for the first 1.45 hours in. The world needed to be better established, we needed to feel less in on the joke, the clues needed to be far less apparent.

Annnywaaay, I had taken the day off to go to the doctor's (excellent visit BTW) and finished my other work (Classic Starts) earlier than expected, so I was glad to be able to squeeze in a matinee. There's just something delightful about going to the movies in the afternoon in the middle of the week. If I were unemployed, I'd do it all the time.

But Shutter Island? It gets a 6 out of 10. However, it's great the film's grossed so much already, at least it means Scorsese and DiCaprio are free to live another day and make more films together. The Departed is still my favorite picture of the last few years.

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