Shutter Island


Saturday I watched “Shutter Island” with my friends @tilatil and @carlagene.  I went out for the company, not the movie per se, thus had I no clue about the plot whatsoever – no reviews, no synopsis, no nothing. I knew it had the word “island” somewhere in it’s title and Leonardo DiCaprio played the leading character – instant bad dejà vu here, since the only DiCaprio+island movie that I had ever seen was trully bad.


Before the movie, a promotional short-film/advert for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was exhibited (such edition of the World Cup will take place in Brazil). The short movie location: Israel. The characters: Palestinian arabs and Israeli jewish, adults and kids. One of the kids is playing soccer in the alley, when the ball decides to go for a ride, take a detour and land just in the middle of a group of palestinian arabs. After one moment of silence and tension, arab and israeli kid look at each other, realizing that, underneath the habitual attire, both are wearing the yellow brazilian soccer uniform shirt. The kids then smile at eachother, and go play soccer together. A message at the end said “Brazil’s soccer brings people together all over the world.”


Hippieness apart, I really liked that ad. Anyway, back to the movie.


So, there was I, expecting nothing beyond the joyous company of my friends. That was only until the opening credits rolled in – by then I already loved the film. A ferry boat coming out of the mist just to land by the docks. Year 1954. Suspenseful soundtrack. Had it been anything of trully awful that came out of that intro, I’d still keep for “Shutter Island” a tiny room in my heart – because I love films that take place in past decades, specially the 40’s to 60’s;  because I love stories that involve ships and boats and sailing, in spite of being scared to death (yet not less fascinated) of the ocean, this worldwide mass of water that surrounds me and could swallow me far into it’s deepness to never bring me back to surface again. </ramble>


The good surprise is what followed was a fairly elaborate and interesting plot. Leonardo DiCaprio did a great job – and I immediately sympathized with his character’s seasickness. I was impressed by the subtlety and skillfullness of his acting: he slowly, smoothly – almost imperceptively – goes from  ‘dutiful-sane-Marshall-with-dramatic-past’ to  being a ‘stone-cold-psych-ward-crazy-dude’.  I know he’s familiar with playing crazy men, but none of them had made that transition so smoothly. It’s not a repetition of  his role in The Aviator. Mark Ruffalo’s was noteworthy as well. No comments needed on Ben Kingsley.


The film brings up a few topics: the dark side of psychiatry and it’s legitimacy and ethics, being that criminals deemed mentally ill were sentenced to Shutter Island,  guinea pigs to a bunch of old arrogant psychiatrists’ experimentations. Martin Scorsese succeeds in making psychiatrists look bad. Doctors apart, anyone who ever entered a psychiatric hospital knows reality is not too far behind fiction. Actually it happens to be quite loyal to many and many hospices out there.  Trully sad,  filthy and decadent.


I have to confess I figured out what the ‘plot twist’ was 45 mins into the movie, which made my friends very angry, because I made a comment (assuming they’d figured it out too, naturally), so I kind of spoiled it… anyway, I guess I’m not to be taken as the rule here: I have seen way too many films of this kind, enough to guess the plot twist very early in the story. Reckon everyone else’s reaction, I wouldn’t say it’s a predictable plot. Can’t remember any plothole for the momment.


“Shutter Island” is rated 8.1 at IMDB, and, until I finished this post, it was #218 on IMDB’s Top 250 list.


Similar films: Memento, Identity, A Beautiful Mind, The Machinist, Secret Window, The Others, Hide and Seek.


  • Huh, I had no idea this movie was considered to be so good. I'd sort of ignored it as a random, if maybe better than average, horror flick. Oops.

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