In review: Shutter Island

Shutter Island
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams
Released: February 19, 2010
Rating: 3/4

If you like a good psychological thriller, then Scorsese’s fourth collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio is worth a trip to the theatre to see. But be warned, it is not to be passively viewed. You’ll need your thinking caps on for this one.

The film is based on the 2003 book of the same name by Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone.

Scorsese’s adaptation adheres very closely to the book, retelling the story of a US Marshall (DiCaprio) and his investigation of a missing patient from a mental hospital for the criminally insane. Set in the early 1950’s, the story centres around the inhumane treatment of mental patients during an era in which the lobotomy was still widely used.

The film depicts the misery that many such patients endured, yet fails to capture the pervasive sense of despair that is gotten from reading the book, which plunges readers far more deeply into the minds of the characters.

That being said, the film is still worth seeing. For once a movie delivers plot twists that you don’t see coming (unless you’ve read the book, of course), a refreshing depart from the majority of films being released these days.

DiCaprio carries the film with a performance that demonstrates his ever-growing talent for mature roles. Despite his lingering baby face looks, he manages to appear older and haunted, delivering a believable performance as a man who has been worn into the ground by the events of his life. Michelle Williams again proves why she is the true breakout star of Dawson’s Creek.

Be prepared for a few disturbing scenes, which aren’t easy to watch but necessary to carry the plot through to a climax that will have you leaving the theatre in deep thought. The film purposely leaves its audience in a state of delusion, in that way taking the best of the book to the screen.

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