Shutter Island

Shutter Island
(Guest Review by Dante Bean)

This movie was destined to be a letdown for me, but I still had impossibly high hopes.  A thriller from my favorite director, starring my favorite actor.  But after over a year’s worth of delays and anticipating it more than anything else, how could it possibly deliver to the nines?

Well it doesn’t.  Truth be told, its pretty middle of the road as far as Scorsese movies go.  Better than The King of Comedy and Bringing out the Dead, but nowhere near Goodfellas or Raging Bull.  That said I’m of the opinion that Marty is the greatest living film maker and his worst effort can run circles around most people’s best.

This review will be spoiler free but I suggest doing a media blackout on this one before going to see it, because if the ending (which is pretty great) is spoiled for you, it will really make everything that precedes it far less entertaining.  I think a lot of people will see it coming (the person I went with called it months ago just from the trailer) and that’s a bit of a disappointment.  Cool idea, but the movie almost tries to give itself away more than once.  Maybe I feel that way because I was looking for it, I don’t know.

Plot in a nutshell; Arnie Grape is summoned to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient from one of its three mental wards.  Anything beyond that ruins the fun of unraveling for you, so I’ll pump the brakes here.  I will say that it’s expertly paced (definitely does not feel like a two hours and twenty minute movie at all) and entertaining throughout.  I didn’t, however, enjoy Leo’s dream sequences.  The imagery and ideas were original, well executed and fun to look at, but that doesn’t make them less of a bore.

But something is missing.  I don’t even know exactly how to put my finger on it.  But it’s that unspoken element that can make a textbook genre flick like The Departed so relentlessly engaging despite it’s been there, done that feel.  No shortness of breath, nothing that has you on pins and needles.  No jumps, no scares, no tension.  That isn’t to say it is ever boring, but it’s a much more casual viewing as opposed to feeling personally invested.

The acting is top notch, as expected, but not from where you may expect.  All these unknown faces of guards and orderlies here are people I absolutely want to see more of.  They made the movie, and made it feel like a real institution.  I even put Ben Kingsley in this group, because that guy has pumped out more garbage late in his career, which is a true shame for an actor of his caliber.  But I say with no hyperbole whatsoever that this is his best turn since Sexy Beast.  Awesome stuff.

Three Things I Liked About This Movie

-Ben Kingsley is so back
-Shutter Island felt like a real place and looked slick as hell
-Knock out ending

Three Things I Didn’t Like About This Movie

-Lacks intensity to be a thriller, and scares to be horror
-Annoying dream sequences
-Movie works too hard to give itself away 

If you’ve been anticipating this, it’s a definite go see.  People at the top of their craft doing what they do best and does not disappoint.

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