For some reason in Hollywood 2010 was the year of psychiatric hospitals. In a few months we got M. Scorsese’s Shutter Island, John Carpenter’s The ward, and Sucker punch by Z. Snyder. All have the same basic theme and share a similar narrative structure. The best of the trio? For me it’s without a doubt The ward, but today I’m writing about Shutter Island! And, you’re warned, there will be spoiler. If you to avoid those, come back after watching the movie!
The protagonist is Leonardo Di Caprio and the rest of the cast is also stellar with, among others, Mark Ruffalo (the Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Ben Kingsley (just seen in Polanski’s Death and the maiden), Max Von Sydow (who has an infinite curriculum), and Emily Mortimer (last year she was in The Party by S. Potter). Shutter island is directed by a master like Scorsese, and therefore the technical department is perfect: everything works as expected. And this, believe it or not, is the reason that prevented me from fully enjoying the film! Why? Because the idea of the film is to tell us the story from the point of view of the character of Di Caprio who, as will be revealed in the final part, has major psychological problems and sees things that are not necessarily happening.
The problem is that Scorsese filled the movie with intentional editing and continuity errors revealing the trick from the beginning! Already in the initial scenes on the boat going to Shutter Island I noticed a couple of “mistakes” and I wondered how it was possible. The only possible explanation was that there was something wrong with the “narrator” of the story, that is the protagonist. So I understood almost immediately that I had to read the facts on screen as seen through the eyes of a person with psychological problems. For me, the vision of the film focused entirely on understanding what the reality of the facts was, and I couldn’t let myself be surprised and amazed by the plot. It should be noted that Scorsese didn’t make it easy to understand exactly the big reveal of the ending, and that the film manages to maintain an excellent level of tension almost all the time (with some horror scenes too!).
So, did I like the movie? Yes, I did, but having understood from the beginning where the plot was going, maybe I haven’t enjoyed the full hour and a half preceding the revelation which wasn’t surprising for me. That said, the final dialogue between the characters of Di Caprio and Ruffalo, with the former almost voluntarily choosing to undergo a lobotomy (according to this interpretation, it would be a conscious choice in order to avoid living with the pain related to the loss of all his family), alone makes the movie worth watching! Ciao!
PS: there is a hidden game in the title: Shutter island is an anagram of either truths and lies or truths / denials.