By: Carson O’Shoney
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — When reviewing any Martin Scorsese picture, one has to keep in mind that his films are held to a much higher standard than most. Scorsese is one of the most respected and influential directors of our generation, and his name is perpetually near the top of critic’s “Best Directors of All-Time” lists. Even the worst Scorsese picture is better than 98% of the Hollywood trash out there. His new film Shutter Island is no exception.
Shutter Island is based off the 2003 novel of the same name, written by Dennis Lehane. Junior Corey Coleman read the book and saw the movie opening weekend. “I thought the film stayed very true to the source material,” he said. “Very little was changed and that which was was not extremely key to the original story.”
The film begins with the two main characters, U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo, respectively), traveling on a water ferry to investigate a missing patient at Ashecliffe Hosptial for the Criminally Insane on Shutter Island. Scorsese establishes one of the main themes of the film early, water. The opening shots show Daniels getting seasick, and describing how he can’t handle all the water. Water becomes increasingly prominent and important as the film goes on. Scorsese is a master of his craft, and builds upon this and other themes at a perfect pace.
What starts out as a period piece mystery film quickly turns into a psychological thriller. It isn’t your typical Scorsese, but he proves once again that he’s on the top of his game regardless of the genre. Until the big reveal towards the end of the movie, he never lets the viewer in on what’s really happening, offering only subtle hints that could only be picked up on repeat viewings.
The cast that Scorsese assembled for Shutter Island is top notch, and he gets the best out of all of his actors. Lead performances by DiCaprio and Ruffalo are supported by the likes of Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, and Emily Mortimer. Even actors that are only in the film for one scene make the most of their time on screen. Patricia Clarkson and Jackie Earle Haley turn in powerful and memorable performances, despite only being on screen for a few minutes each.
Scorsese keeps the suspense high throughout the entire movie while never resorting to cheap scare tactics. Even in scenes that have no business being tense, the score makes the viewer uncomfortable. That’s exactly where Scorsese wants his viewer to be, and it makes for a hell of a movie-going experience that keeps you guessing until the last minute.
Overall, Scorsese’s latest picture does not disappoint. It should thrill audiences that are new to the story. And while novel-based movies usually fail to live up to the expectations of fans of the source material, Shutter Island should satisfy that demographic as well. “I feel that Scorsese did an excellent job translating it to the big screen,” said Corey Coleman. “He remained loyal to the source material while still giving the movie his signature style. I read the book and loved the movie, which is a rare thing for me.”