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Wick's Review

Created Feb 23, 2010 11:41PM PST • Edited Apr 10, 2018 05:29PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Mannered, overtly creepy and a bit wearying, Scorsese’s trip inside one man’s tortured mind is never less than showy-great movie making. You expected something less from the Master? Instead he gives us something more: a big twist worthy of Fight Club. Unlike that rollicking classic however, Scorsese’s nightmare doesn’t beg to be seen a second time, so gruesome are its vistas.

    Nor does Shutter Island beg that you love it, just that you respect and are creeped out by it. This it easily achieves. As a nightmare come to life, with some stunningly realized massacres staged along the way, it falls on the horror side of thriller. Thus it will satisfy the slasher crowd as much as the art house set.

    DiCaprio, Di Niro & Scorsese sounds like an Italian-American law firm.

    Leo’s now made four movies with Marty, half as many as Bobby. Unlike the latter’s Raging Bull and Goodfellas however, Shutter Island – like Leo’s other Scorsese movies – is a full beam shy of Perfect.

  3. Great 4.0

    Another forced march with Leonardo, this one even more harrowing than in Body of Lies and Blood Diamond. He needs to do something lighter in his next picture. I’m just saying.

    Nonetheless, DiCaprio’s acting reputation gets burnished by his trip through Dante’s Inferno, no doubt Scorsese’s assured direction providing him the proper guidance for exposing his character to the worst tragedies that a man can experience.

    His costars are – if anything – better than him:

    • Mark Ruffalo, one of the great unsung actors of our time, subtly shines as DiCaprio’s wingman.
    • Sir Ben Kingsley, one of the lionized actors of our time, delivers another of his patented tweedy authority figure performances.
    • Max von Sydow, a Swede who often plays a German, here plays an apparent Nazi Doctor. Be afraid, very afraid.
    • Patricia Clarkson as a convincing victim of foul play.
    • Jackie Earle Haley as a freaky insane guy, the type of role that Haley has down pat, for instance in Little Children.
  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Really Great 4.5
  8. Great 4.0

    A film school clinic, Shutter Island steers clear of camp while revisiting old school pulp. Thus Scorsese is the directer Tarantino wants to be. While some might argue that Quentin is already there, Shutter Island makes clear that even when making a self-consciously mannered picture, Marty never stoops to josh, while Quentin always does.

    Significantly, Shutter Island gave Scorsese the chance to turn his lens on the Holocaust in the form of the liberation of Dachau. The result is a series of nightmarishly frozen images that remain seared in the mind’s eye after the house lights come up.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5

    Amongst the breathtaking scenes, notice the tracking shot from the-sky-to-the-car driving from the dock into the center of the island early in the film. It smoothly pulls in from a good quarter-mile away. Wow.

  10. Play Great 4.0

    Writer Dennis Lehane hits hard, just as he did in Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone, his other Boston classics. Here he veers away from realism, yet keeps his Beantown ear well tuned.

    Still, the tortured plot – and characters – become a bit wearying about two thirds of the way through this 2¼ hour movie.

  11. Music Good 3.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
    Perfect Visuals
    • The malevolent looking island
    • The fortress-like hospital prison
    • The liberated concentration camp
  13. Content
  14. Sordid 2.7

    Several instances of once-in-a-century inhumanity are brought to life: a mother drowns her children (a la Andrea Yates) and US GIs encounter piles of corpses upon liberating the Dachau concentration camp. Oh yeah, lobotomy is also part of the plot. Lovely.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Savage 4.5
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Glib 1.9

    The movie makes much of DiCaprio’s character having been one of the GIs who liberated Dachau. This seems accurately shown, other than the frozen corpses. The liberation of Dachau occurred in late April.

    The movie also seems to hype the so-called Dachau massacre beyond what apparently happened.

    BTW, can anyone blame the GIs for mowing down the SS guards at Dachau? General Patton surely didn’t. Good thing the Huffington Post wasn’t operating back then.

    Oh yeah, Shutter Island? Fictional.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.5
  20. Biological Glib 1.7
  21. Physical Glib 1.4


Subscribe to Shutter Island 5 replies, 4 voices
May 19, 2010 9:56PM

Regarding hurwizzle’s Review
Interesting. It was the reverse for me: liked the movie but not the trailer.

May 19, 2010 6:25PM

Regarding hurwizzle’s Review
I enjoyed the trailer more than I enjoyed the movie. Damn.

Feb 24, 2010 2:27PM

OMG Thank you for posting a review, Wick. I’ve been hearing so many mixed reactions and from what I saw on “At the Movies”, it wasn’t lookin too good but now that I’ve seen your review, this is surely gonna be a great one.