Shutter Island – kind of review with spoilers
I must warn you immediately the reason I wanted to write this review was REALLY so I had legitimate reason to rave about Mark Ruffalo. Gee whizz and golly gosh, he was just cool as fudge in Shutter Island. The clothes, the hair, the accent – and, just for fans of Extras – ‘the catchphrase, brilliant’.
In fact this is not really much of a review. Skim read to the last few paragraphs and squint your eyes a bit. You might get some sense out of it (though, probably not).
I screamed about two minutes into the film – during the opener where Leonardo DiCaprio is suffering the indignity of sea sickness, Mark Ruffalo is just cool as a cucumber!
Maybe this feeling of awe was slightly increased by the fact that only a week before I’d also watched Dark Waters – the compelling true story of a law firm taking on a huge environmental case. Now Mark Ruffalo was great in it. He was great and his character was great buuuut he didn’t look that cool.
So how refreshing was this?!
Actually it’s been a bit of a Mark Ruffalo lovefest recently as we also watched 13 Going on 30 and omg how adorable is that film. Loved it! BEST ENDING EVER!
So anyway, Shutter Island is almost two and a half hours long but it doesn’t feel that bad. It’s one of those actually pretty good long(ish) films where you’re involved and absorbed and don’t think about the time or needing a wee too much. Nowhere near as good as the super (and slightly ridiculously long) ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy though – which I also re-watched recently and now can’t stop thinking about. I really want to live in Middle Earth and be best pals with Gandalf! Who am I kidding, I want to BE Gandalf!
Anyway. Back to Shutter Island.
The story follows two US Marshalls played by DiCaprio and Ruffalo. Yep MARK RUFFALO. They go to the dreary, depressing and utterly awful Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient from the asylum – oh yes, this island has an ASYLUM – who has seemingly disappeared into thin air like a puff of mysterious smoke.
It seems to be constantly raining on the island. And not just a bit of drizzle – real, stormy ‘I think we’re gonna need Dennis Quaid’ type of weather. The asylum feels cold and uncomfortable. Well, aside from the quarters where Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow and other posh doctors live. They dine well and smoke cigars and have warm fires and cognac.
Not that I’m slagging them off per se, I mean they live in the godforsaken place out of a sense of duty to the patients presumably, so a bit of comfort is necessary. And it would be for me too. But I was literally horrified when I saw the chilly dormitory the two detectives were expected to stay in.
(Yes I did also watch The Day After Tomorrow recently).
The thing that stands out about Shutter Island aside from the always great performances (everyone in it is a high class actor and I particularly liked John Carroll Lynch) is the constant ‘horror film’ vibes. I mean it’s Scorsese and it’s got DiCaprio in it and you’d – admittedly rather ignorantly – expect it to be about gangsters or politicians or something. But it’s more like a thriller crossed with psychological horror. Rather creepy, surreal dream sequences (always a nightmare inducer) and black skies over a foreboding island – the whole place is pretty terrifying. You know when you just wouldn’t want to be there?
Though I don’t think it’s a Scorsese classic if I’m honest. I mean it’s very entertaining and has a great cast. I liked how Martin Scorsese made a proper scary movie and of course particularly enjoyed the creepy elements. But it’s far more forgettable than most of his big name movies and I don’t think it’s a ‘classic classic’.
Also, it was the second time I’d watched it. And though I didn’t remember how the entire story unfolded step by step, I DID certainly remember the big twist at the end and it changes straight up EVERYTHING when you’re watching it.
Slight Spoiler Alert…
I wish they really had been US Marshalls investigating a weird disappearance. I don’t like the truth as much. The truth is tragic, the ending a great deal sadder and it means they’re not cool US Marshalls. Admittedly it’s a great shocker the first time you watch it and executed well, but to me it massively affected the film’s re-watch-ability because the whole time you know a lot of the character building and set-up is…..well, it’s nonsense really.
Let’s all take solace in a cool Mark Ruffalo headshake.