Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shutter Island - Is it Better to Live as a Monster, or Die a Good Man?

SPOILERS AHEAD--ALTHOUGH IF YOU HAVE AN IQ SOMEWHERE NORTH OF 70 YOU SHOULD FIGURE OUT THE ENDING IN THE FIRST 20 MINUTES.



Shutter Island is a great example of what a legendary director like Martin Scorsese can do with a period thriller--even when given a bit of a lame script.

Tara and I went to see it last night and THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. DiCaprio is great as always, Ben Kingsley is ideal in his role, and they even threw Max Von Sidow in there to play the creepy German mad scientist.

Get it out of your system right now--Shutter Island is not a mystery movie or even particularly suspenseful. Going into it expecting some sort of epic The Usual Suspects twist will leave you disappointed. What it IS is a fantastic mood piece, with amazing visuals that suck you in and leave you with an almost constant feeling of creeping dread and dispair. The excellent score helps this as well. The movie is about the journey Teddy takes through the asylum and, by proxy, through his own head. As another reviewer mentioned, the movie uses the ending as a catharsis--a sort of affirmation of what happened for the last two hours.

I'll spill the beans right here because it's frightfully obvious in the movie--Teddy is actually a patient at the asylum, not a federal marshal visiting to help find an escaped patient. It took me as long as the scene where he interviews the other patients about the whereabouts of Rachael to figure that out. I certainly didn't notice ALL the little hints, which will make viewing this a second time all the better, but I noticed enough to put it together quite early. Tara noticed it more in the dialogue (the interns talking about receiving overtime pay for "acting" in the deception), while I noticed the visuals (his name being an anagram of Andrew Laidis, his almost constant use of matches and fire.)

And that's okay--as I said, the movie's ending is pretty obvious early on... But it's the journey we take to get there, and all the LITTLE twists and turns that happen that make it worthwhile. So FAR in this short movie season, it's the best movie of 2010... Obviously a long way to go though. ;)

Unfortunately, Tara and I went on Cheap Tuesday at Masonville Silver City, and sat amongst a gaggle of 16-18 year olds, constantly playing with their cell phones, texting, yapping away and trying desperately to understand and explain the movie to each other. It took all my restraint not to turn around when the credits rolled, DEMAND their attention and spend 2 minutes explaining the plot of the movie. How fucking dumb are kids these days?

And why am I a 29 year old asking that question? :(

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