After his long awaited Oscar win 3 years ago, Martin Scorsese is back behind the camera in his fourth collaboration with his muse Leonardo DiCaprio with Shutter Island. The film was moved back from its original October 2009 release date, due to various marketing strategies and Leo not being able to do any press tours as he was filming Christopher Nolan’s new film Inception. Is this latest collaboration between the two going to match up to Gangs Of New York, The Aviator and the Oscar-Winning The Departed?


The Plot:

Shutter Island is the story of two U.S. marshals, Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Ruffalo), who are summoned to a remote and barren island off the coast of Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a murderess from the island’s fortress-like hospital for the criminally insane.

The Good:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio: Leo always produces his best performances when work with Martin Scorsese, and this film in no exception. This might even be his best performance to date. His character, Teddy Daniels is very complex character, he has just lost his wife and he plagued by nightmares from WW2. Mr. DiCaprio gives absolutely everything and it pays off, he is wounded, he is fighting against everything, suffering from horrific nightmares but its his character’s utter conviction in finding out the truth is absolutely terrifying.
  • Martin Scorsese’s direction: It is such a joy watching a master at work. After the first 5 minutes of Scorsese embracing his Hitchcockian side, complete with a moody tone and a masterful score, we are unnerved and he keeps us enthralled until the credits role. The artistry in creating these flashback scenes are truly remarkable, showing that the master has clearly not lost his touch. The way that he orchestrates each character in the film is brilliant, no one is quite who they seam. This is certainly the closest thing that we are ever going to get to a Scorsese horror movie (along with his remake if Cape Fear), the horror is embedded the psychosis of each character and it is absolutely thrilling to watch.
  • Supporting Cast: The supporting cast do have a great hand in racking up the tension during the course of the film. Emile Mortimer is effective as the prison escapee, Michelle Williams is haunting as Daniels’s wife, and the very reliable Max Von Sydow is stallar as a the suspicious German doctor. But the best performance from the cast Sir Ben Kingsley, in which our assumption of the character changes multiple times during the course of the film. Although his story could have been drawn into cliche territory, Kingsley brings much need humanity to the character, which in turn makes his decisions creditable as the head doctor of the mental hospital.
  • Involving Jigsaw Puzzle/Murder Mystery: This is a very complex murder mystery, with twists and turns and it is riveting to watch on screen. There are so many layers to the film that it is impossible to catch on first viewing. There are moments in the film where you think it is going one way, but it does a complete 360-degree turn, and you are completely baffled. This is certainly an ambiguous film, which you can take whatever mean you want out of it, in turn makes it a fantastic viewing pleasure, without giving any easy solutions.
  • Marketing Campaign: Just a quick mention to the marketing people at Paramount, to say good job. They really have kept things under wraps, including the content for the trailer by just laying down the basics of the plot. By doing this, the film’s overall impact is even more effective.

The Bad:

  • Climax: This really is the only downside to the film, but the build up to the film is a lot better than the climax. You get a clear sense of Déjà vu at the end of the film. I keep think back to it, knowing that it was the only way that they could have ended the film, and there is certainly some emotional impact in knowing what happens to them. But there is a certain air of preposterous about the end, that slight distracted and annoying me about the film.


With the climax providing the only disappointment of the film. There is no slowing down with Team DiCaprio/Scorsese by creating one of the most intriguing and engrossing films of the year.

Rating: 8/10

Check out Shutter Island in theaters February 19th!