Shutter Island (movie poster)
Shutter Island marks the fourth collaboration with director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, after their multiple Oscar-award winning efforts Gangs Of New York, The Aviator and The Departed. Based on the novel by Mystic River author Dennis Lehane, DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo play two US marshals called to a remote island to investigate the disappearance of a murderer from an institution for the criminally insane.
On the surface Shutter Island looks like a simple mystery-thriller, but nothing about this film is simple. From the themes explored to the complex characters, Scorsese is a master storyteller and it is not long before you find yourself trapped in the intricate web he has crafted. The plot twists come with dizzying speed, leaving you feeling disoriented and slightly uncomfortable, somewhat like the occupants of the Shutter Island facility.
The performances from the top rate cast strengthen the illusion and the always impressive DiCaprio sets a new bar for himself as the tormented investigator. The supporting cast in Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson are all captivating, especially Williams who shows off her superb range. Visually, this is some of Scorsese's best work, as a muted colour palette of greys and blues contrast dramatically with the warm hues of the dream and flashback sequences. The noir-esque moments are balanced nicely by the Hitchcockian story arcs which lead to some truly eerie scenes.
Slightly longer than it needs to be, Scorsese doesn't rush, unwinding his intense narrative slowly, leaving goosebumps on your arm like the best kind of horror film. Without spoiling Shutter Island's biggest gift to the audience, it is a thrilling, often creepy, journey that takes you places you never expected to go.