Dinelka Balasuriya’s review published on Letterboxd:
The collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio has already produced some truly special and entertaining films, namely The Departed and Gangs of New York but I feel that Shutter Island may be the most overlooked and best of them all. From its opening minute, Shutter Island contains an alluring presence as the viewer is immediately enthralled by the events unfolding.
Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Ruffalo) are sent to Shutter Island in order to investigate the disappearance of a dangerous prisoner, or as Kingsley’s Dr. Cawley refers to them as “patients”. The two begin to discover and unfold layers of lies and begin to suspect whether there was a disappearance to begin with. This is where Shutter Island resembles The Wicker Man, in its concept. But the actual story is equally impressive as that of The Wicker Man and just as fascinating.
DiCaprio is absolutely terrific, defining the character’s determination and lust in discovering the possible evil at work in Shutter Island. Able to commune emotion superbly, especially in somewhat of a devastating past he had, DiCaprio also succeeds in bringing out the disbelief that his character requires. Mark Ruffalo has far less to do but is impressive, portrayed as a far less serious and more light hearted and comedic character despite his intentions being pure. Ben Kingsley, assuming the role of Christopher Lee’s Lord Summerisle from The Wicker Man brings a variation to Lee’s villain and is fantastic, at times he is truly scary.
The cinematography and visual depth is inspiring, also adding a gloomy atmospheric feel to it. As our characters are locked into the confines of an unfamiliar and unearthly place, we as the audience begin to emote similar responses to Teddy and his partner, feeling the terror that occurs as a result of the psychological operations taking place.
Shutter Island is quite a brilliantly crafted film in terms of story and character development, the past of Teddy is especially fascinating. Scorsese’s masterful execution and DiCaprio’s excellent performance make Shutter Island, quite possibly one of Scorsese’s finest and in my opinion, the strongest of the ongoing collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese.