Paul Lister’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Pull yourself together, Teddy. Pull yourself together."
Right from the off it seems obvious that something is up with U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and it isn't just seasickness. The twist to Martin Scorsese's psychological thriller may be an obvious one but for the most part Marty is having too much of a blast to let that stop him.
'Shutter Island' works for a few reasons, not least down to DiCaprio's rapidly unhinged performance as the marshall looking for an escaped convict on an island housing a mental institute. In some of Di Caprio's previous work with Scorsese I often felt that he was a weak link in the acting stacks but he has grown as an actor partly through his work with Scorsese and here is is in great form. The film is also strong in the technical department, it's shot brilliantly by Robert Richardson and Thelma Schoonmaker's editing is really sharp, the flashback's are particularly well done. These two elements alone are reasons why I prefer this to say, 'The Departed', which I feel is particularly overrated. Di Caprio never truly convinced me in that film and technically it felt slack, framing seemed loose and editing was sluggish.
The supporting cast are all decent with Mark Ruffalo putting in a good shift as he always does. What I liked about Ruffalo on rewatching the film is that his character almost comes across as someone who is acting. Even though Teddy has created another persona it is clear that the staff on the island are forced to play along in the hope that they can steer him towards finally admitting to who he is and what he has done and Ruffalo's character really sounds like someone who is playing along with the fantasy rather, it is something subtle that I did not notice the first two times but on this occasion I really noticed it.
After watching this film a few times I must admit that the pacing does grind a little in the final third. This is probably down to the fact that the twist is already well know to me. A late scene with the missing women Teddy is originally supposed to find feels arbitrary in many ways as we can already see his fate. Not just this but the the final scene in the lighthouse is just a long winded explanation as to who Teddy really is, although the reveals are pretty good, the fact that he has been playing and replaying the same scenario over and over again, unable to believe the reality of who he is, which in turn keeps him trapped as a patient and the chilling reveal of what his wife did to his children do really work for me. I just wished that Scorsese has tightened it up a little in the build up to this moment because what came before the lull was really strong