Mar 31, 2010|
(USA) OK, so this does not quite pack a punch like any of Scorsese’s great gangster films. But still there is enough rough and tumble in this psychologically searing thriller to leave your head ticking over for a good while.
Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel has been given a thoroughly good working over by screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis, who along with Scorsese, has taken us back to the era of stylish noir thrillers with this ingenious effort.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a federal marshal who together with his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) heads for the remote Shutter Island to investigate the case of an escaped prisoner from a facility for the criminally insane. Once there, they encounter three gatekeepers: The warden and the two hospital heads, Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) and Dr. Naehring (Max von Sydow). The eerie trio further deepens our suspicions that something dark—almost evil—lurks nearby. Daniels has another reason for being there; he wants to look for the man responsible for the death of his wife Dolores (Michelle Williams).
But during the course of investigations, he finds that the patients are psychotic and damaged, and becomes intent on exposing the institution as a place of kooky medical experiments. And there is something else. Daniels is haunted by his time as a liberator of the Nazi death camps at Dachau, and the flashbacks of those days become intense as the story progresses. Also, Dolores’s appearances in his dreams take a turn for the worse—adding fuel to a story that’s firing up nicely on all cylinders.
The suspense and pacing is immense; a throwback to the days of old fashioned scary movies, with elements straight out of a Hitchcock or Kubrick (Daniels’ dream sequences recall the horrors of The Shining) flick. And the acting is beyond compare. With twists and turns that’ll leave you gasping at the end, this is one helluva ride. Just don’t read the book first.