In 1954, A U.S. Marshal, Teddy Daniels, with his partner Chuck Aule was tasked with finding an escaped patient. They arrive at Ashecliffe, a penitentiary that holds the most dangerous and damaged patients in the world. However, the audience understands Daniels’s true motive for taking on the case as he searches for the man who killed his wife.
The scenes are uneasy as the patients, doctors, and workers are mysterious, leading our main character to question his sanity. Pictures, songs, German doctors, subtle words, and officers remind Daniels of his past WWII memories. He develops hallucinations of his deceased wife, German soldiers, and Holocaust survivors at a death camp. An investigation for an escaped patient turns into Daniels fighting his past and himself.
Feb. 19, 2010, the legendary Martin Scorsese directed “Shutter Island.” The psychological thriller mystery drama is paired with an excellent cast. The three characters played by Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Ben Kingsley complement each other in scenes. When all three are in the exact location, it’s a chess match of words wanting to make the other make a mistake.
When the movie ended, “Shutter Island” didn’t win any notable awards. The biggest surprise from this movie was that neither Scorsese nor DiCaprio were nominated for an Oscar. This is one of few blemishes of their career as it is the first time both haven’t been nominated for an Oscar. Some say the movie is hard on the eyes with the consistent flashes of war crimes, concentration camps, and gory death scenes in WWII.
While the movie has its flaws, here’s what I like about the film. In the beginning, you hear eerie music behind the Paramount logo. It leaves the audience in suspense, wondering what will happen next. This noise follows throughout the movie, seeing odd patients, officers, and Daniels’s memories. I love films that display eerie music, and they put you at the edge of your seat.
Because this is a psychological thriller, conversations about human nature being violent, insane, or delusional are ordinary. However, there are three scenes, in particular, that center around violence. First, Daniels finds himself talking to a vital doctor of the penitentiary about being a “man of violence.” Next is a suspenseful scene of Daniels talking to an inmate, informing him about the dangerous things Daniels has done. Last, the warden has a one-on-one talk with Daniels about his survival instincts, willing to strike anyone in his path.
These scenes make the audience wonder and question, “what information from the main character is being held from us?” Movies shouldn’t just have the watchers have clear answers. A good film should make the audience jump through hoops till the truth is revealed.
Finally, the biggest surprise is the constant questioning of Daniels’s partner Aule. Nothing is wrong until his partner leaves during an interrogation of a patient; she writes “run” in Daniels’s book. Another instance is when Daniels finds himself being questioned by an inmate on how long he’s worked with Aule and if he can trust him.
All the paths Daniels ran to get closer to his answers led to a surprising development at the end. Finally, questions are answered, and if you want to discover them, log into Netflix and watch it and you’ll be in for a treat.