SHUTTER ISLAND, Martin Scorsese (2010)

Since Basketball Diaries, Leonardo di Caprio had lost all credibility as an actor for me (and many people). He shouldn’t have participated in shit like Titanic, I think it was a terrible mistake that will be a burden till the end of his days.

The fact is that if Scorsese, considered one of the most established and notorious directors in the film industry, is involving the never-getting-old actor in his latest projects,  it has to be for some reason.

Collaboration started with Gangs of New York, and in my opinion Di Caprio’s performance is not solid at all. Then The Aviator followed, with an histrionic Hughes in front of our eyes. I liked the story, in fact, I’ve always felt interested in the life the eccentric producer had, same  with his pal Errol Flynn. People living at their outmost…interesting!

Anyway, at the time  The Departed was released I got pretty scared when found out that there was a duel between Di Caprio and expressionless Matt Damon. I thought the result was to be a total disaster…but it wasn’t. Thanks to the outstanding performance of Di Caprio, the film was powerful, and the story, not Scorsese’s, definitely devastating.

And here we are, in Shutter Island, away from the mob and New York, Scorsese decided to move into a different field and environment, taking us to a world of mystery, mind tricks and even something close to horror.

Teddy Daniels (Di Caprio) volunteers to investigate the strange disappearance of Rachel Solando from the facilities of the high security asylum, Ashecliffe, in Shutter Island, a place nobody can get away from due to its location and rough characteristics. Marshal Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) is assisting Daniels, considered some kind of legend among their colleagues.

Once they reach the island, Daniels notices something’s wrong, contradictory statements from both patients and staff working, and the presence of Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley), constantly objecting to the marshals’ requests related to the investigation, as if he had something to hide.

On the other hand, Daniels’ past traumas seem to flourish again, remembering his wife’s death caused by a fire in the apartment building they used to live, and flashes of his experience in Germany, during II World War. Hallucinations start to follow, together with severe migraine., weakening Daniels terribly.

Too many things hidden in Shutter Island need to be discovered by the marshals, however all the factors will work the opposite, leading  to a sort of cathartic experience.

Shutter Island reminds me once again to Cronenberg’s films, when dealing with reality and fiction, when mind is so much involved in the stories as to cause confusion in order to protect itself from the cruel reality. The initial or official plot has to do with the investigation of Rachel Solando’s disappearance, followed by Daniels’ obsession about what’s going on at these premises. Actually, the main plot is to discover what’s wrong with Daniels and the reason for his hallucinations.

First time I was particularly impressed by the major role nature, more specifically, the storm, has in the story. The deeper  in shit the marshals get during the investigation, the more unstable and rough weather turns.  It’s also necessary to highlight the island itself, as another hostile element.

Regarding performances, this time I think Leo is solid as Teddy Daniels, probably, because in some way he feel comfortable with tormented men roles, and after 4 films with Scorsese, the director has been able to squeeze his potential.  Ben Kingsley is irritating, actually, the effect to be caused, so pretentious and rigid, it doesn’t matter whether the doctor really intends to treat patients away from pills or lobotomies, after 2 minutes you think he’s an asshole.

Dolores Chanal, Daniels’ dead wife, is important and essential too. She’s like the guide and support Daniels needs to go on with the investigation, but not the one related to Solando’s, but his private investigation to discover where the killer of her wife, Laeddis (Elias Koteas), is hidden. She’s the highway to Daniels’ insanity, no doubt.

Probably when you see the film, you’ll  guess the end of it in advance, I don’t think surprise was the main concern of the director. What matters here is shocking  the audience in the middle discovering the reasons for such finale.

Not so many people remember  Shutter Island nowadays, and positive it won’t be remembered as one of the best Scorsese’s works, yet it mustn’t be underestimated either. There are many aspects to check on following reviews, which escape to our eyes, sure it will be the classic case of a film praised after some years.

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