Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shutter Island

Is it me, or is a Scorsese release an event? The preeminent director working never fails to dazzle, but going into Shutter Island I was a little nervous. I had not read into at all, but it seemed like the film had been delayed forever, and when it was given a February release I thought the studios were setting it up to fail with an early year, post Oscar season release. However, my doubts would soon be quelled. Here, the master returns with another masterwork, a nightmarish mystery with several nods to film noir. The film is dark, moody, atmospheric and wonderfully shot, containing many beautifully conceived scenes containing ominous, brooding background music. Leonardo DiCaprio, re-teaming for the fourth time with Scorsese, reminds us once again what a talent he is in his performance as a Federal Marshal investigating a woman's disappearance from a mental asylum. Added to this are wonderful supporting performances, in no particular order: Mark Ruffalo as Leo's untried partner, Michelle Williams as his wife, the great Ben Kingsley as his seemingly genuine psychiatrist, Max von Sydow as Kingsley's more devious colleague, Jakie Earle Hayley as a disturbed patient. (very minor spoiler) The end does contain a twist which may annoy some but which I found witty and well-handled. This is a great film, and after viewing it I got the feeling it was pushed back because the studio felt it couldn't compete with Avatar at the box office. However, this is as good as anything up for an Oscar now.