Opening 25 Feb 2010
Writing credits: Laeta Kalogridis, Dennis Lehane
Principal actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams
Directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the book by Dennis Lehane, who was also an executive producer of the film, along with screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar).
Set in 1954, U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) with his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo, XX,XY) are assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient at a prison for the criminally insane, located in a Civil-War-era fort isolated on the tiny Shutter Island off the coast of Boston.
Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) heads this spooky hospital, which appears to be above the law, as he refuses open the facility’s files to the investigators. Incidents trigger flashbacks for Marshall Daniels, such as meeting the German doctor Naehring (Max von Sydow); this triggers his memory as a soldier during WWII, at the liberation of Dachau.* As Daniel’s hallucinations become more frequent, the divide between truth and reality start to blur, and there appears to be another motive for him in wanting to take this case. And a coming hurricane seems to transpose the setting to survival in a jungle.
A capital “T” Thriller – everything about this dark film is intense: its clear laser-like focus, the plot’s twists and turns, visual colors, a constantly implied underlying violence that is rarely overt. The story becomes Daniels, and DiCaprio proves again his great range of acting skills.
Shutter Island reflects the time of Frederick Wisemann’s courageous 1967 documentary Titicut Follies, exposing the treatment of the criminally insane at Bridgewater in Massachusetts, leading to the state run facility’s closure. It was that good!
*A controversy even today, as different Allied infantry divisions claim to be the liberators, reflected in conflicting facts from Holocaust museums, in a book dedication by Senator Joe Lieberman and Steven Spielberg’s documentary, The Last Days! (Nancy Tilitz)