Some trailers just look too appealing to pass up. That’s the way I felt about “Shutter Island”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese. I Saw sumptuous visuals, and knew with the talent in the film that it had to be worthwhile. The story seemed compelling enough. A Federal Marshal is sent to investigate an escaped mental patient from an asylum for the criminally insane. The supporting cast looked stellar: Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, and Michelle Williams.
The film isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. The trailer made it appear as though this was a thriller with maybe a touch of a horror movie thrown in. At no point in the movie was I scared witless, so you can forget the Horror elements. The visuals are dream sequences which actually help the story move along. Other than that though, these visuals are distracting to say the least. Close-ups on light bulbs going on and off and a fascination with any fire effect in the film are just two of the many visuals that didn’t need to be in this movie at all.
The storyline becomes increasing complex as it moves along and although DiCaprio does a fine job with it, the material seemed flat and dull. The Thriller aspects of the film get swept away by the over-indulgence on period costumes and the setting. I do admit that the setting was perfect place for a thriller: an island for the criminally insane complete with an ancient graveyard, a derelict civil war fort, and a spooky lighthouse. The story moves pretty quickly which is good, but perhaps it would have been better if they had just slowed it down just a bit. They could have had much more interaction between DiCaprio’s character and the sinister warden (played wonderfully by Ted Levine).
The story reaches a point where you begin to get a little confused, but fortunately that doesn’t happen until the end. The ending is very predictable, once you realize the kind of movie “Shutter Island” is. That would be a psycho-thriller. In other words, a lot of suspicion and doubt are spread around to keep you guessing, but I found this to be too shallow and not enough time was spent on this aspect of the film. Once you catch on as a viewer, the ending is dull and very anti-climatic.
“Shutter Island” isn’t a complete waste though. The score for the film is eerie and delightful. I found it a real shame that they didn’t build more suspense into the film with such great music on hand. Don’t waste your time with this one unless you really want to see another DiCaprio/Scorsese project. The ending is a letdown and the suspense is sub-par.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE