Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island is a break from the dramatic director’s usual array of dramatic films. Though it features Leonardio DiCaprio yet again, it’s a far cry from the gangster movies Scorsese is known for. It veers off into some shockingly dark and twisted horror territory that’s both fun and chilling to visit.
The awesome thing about Shutter Island—besides the suspense, the acting that’s worth watching, and an actual noir film done well in modern times—is that nothing that you see in the trailer tells you a damn thing about the movie. Yes, it gets you interested, and yes, it delivers the movie’s primary premise, but the film is full of so many jerks and turns into a whole other ballgame that by the end of the movie, you will realize that what you saw isn’t what you saw at all. And that’s the kind of suspenseful thriller that makes for a good movie.
The surface of the film deals with DiCaprio as federal marshal Teddy Daniels. It’s 1954 and Daniels is searching for a missing patient on an island for the criminally insane. He is accompanied by his partner, Chuck, played by Mark Ruffalo. The patient in question, Rachel Solando, is said to have murdered her three children, though she believes them to still be alive. She has broken out of her cell, seen by no one, and is supposedly still on the island somewhere.
Some pretty freaky weird things happen to him while searching, of course, including warnings from other patients to leave and other suspicious activity. A lot of questionable aspects, particularly with the role the marshals play (such as not being able to use guns on the heavily-gunned island), serve as clues to the film’s secret plot, all tying together neatly (for the most part) at the end, which says a lot more than most suspenseful films these days.
In fact, every little piece of the movie—from Teddy’s first scene throwing up for the audience—plays an important part in completing the entire puzzle at the end. And DiCaprio plays him well throughout, performing the role of secretive agent with a hidden history very well.
The haunted, chained inmates, made to seem as if they are living ghosts, coupled with conspiracies and deceptive authority figures, all create a truly spooky environment for this creepy picture. Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane considered so-so, Shutter Island delivers the chills and thrills its trailer promises.