Caught up with Martin Scorsese's latest on DVD, and I can see why it's divisive.
Indulging once again in his appetite for genre film-making from whence sprung Cape Fear 19 years ago, he gives us Shutter Island, a creepy psychological thriller which unfortunately fails to take hold in any lasting way.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays an untrusting U.S. marshal who arrives at the facility for the criminally insane on Shutter Island, intending to uncover the truth about the institution's mysterious goings-on, growing increasingly paranoid as he keeps coming across one baffling clue after another. Of course, nothing is as it seems, and we remain confused right up to the film's climactic twist.
The clever revelations in the film's final act may be enough to make some viewers forget about the first two thirds, but others will be unimpressed with the stilted dialogue, awkward exposition, and ridiculous dream sequences / flashbacks, all of which could have done without the director's stylistic excess. Even the usually reliable editing of living legend Thelma Schoonmaker is jumpy and discontinuous. If for no other reason, you could justify the film as a worthwhile viewing experience for Robert Richardson's incredible cinematography. The screen is filled with arresting images, all of them displaying the man's mastery of composition, movement, colour, and lighting.
**1/2 out of ****