Scorcese’s “Shutter Island” is Disappointment City

Prison movie is very derivative, very dull

| Feb 26, 2010


Leonardo DiCaprio and Michelle Williams in a scene from Shutter Island
Shutter Island is the fourth collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio and to say that it is a disappointment would be an understatement.

The film contains too many elements from previous films that appear to be obvious rip-offs, it wants to be surprising and shocking but instead is just confusing, and the ending is so bad that it makes you want to get up and leave, except that the audience is already doing that.

In addition, there are too many scenes that are nothing more than just exposition designed to fill in the holes for the audience.

hotshots-logoDiCaprio plays U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels, the time is 1954, and the place is Ashecliffe Hospital on Shutter Island, an institution for the criminally insane on one of the islands in Boston Harbor.

Daniels is there with his brand-new partner, Chuck Aule, played by Mark Ruffalo, and they are investigating the disappearance of a female patient, Rachel Solando, who is there because she killed her three children, but believes that they are still alive.

As he starts his investigation, Daniels remarks that the inmates appear as if they are all on edge, and he is told, “Right now, Marshall, we all are.”

He is also corrected that the people there are patients, not inmates, by Dr. Cawley, played by Ben Kingsley.

The island is 11 miles from the nearest land, the dock is the only way off or on the island, Rachel has no shoes, and it is as if she evaporated from a locked cell with bars on the window.

And then there is a storm coming up that will turn into a hurricane.

If all this weren’t enough for Daniels to deal with, he starts to have flashbacks to his experience in World War II when he helped liberate a concentration camp, and he also begins to have dreams and visions of his dead wife, Dolores.

Daniels has an ulterior motive for requesting this case, because he suspects that the man who killed his wife is also a patient in the asylum.

Watching this movie can lead you to these conclusions: Scorsese does surrealism, Scorsese does melodramatics, Scorsese doesn’t do shock or suspense, Scorsese doesn’t do surprise endings, Scorsese does do overindulgence — no, make that self-overindulgence — and finally Scorsese doesn’t do Hitchcock.

Shutter Island is Disappointment City.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”