Shutter Island

Shutter Island ★★★★

This is one of those mystery thriller movies right on the boundary of horror, like The Sixth Sense, that is known for housing a large twist that recontextualizes the entire film. I can attest now, on multiple viewings, that this was very well executed. A great twist that is also logically coherent and thoughtfully developed (instead of shoehorned for shock value or to try to jump-start a third act) often plays out for the viewer in near-total surprise on first viewing, but becomes almost completely obvious on rewatch, as logically written clues and bits of irony in both dialogue and situation jump out at the knowing viewer. Conversely, a more hackneyed plot turn might also not be surprising on rewatch, but would certainly still feel random.

It is rare for Martin Scorsese to step into this genre territory, but as he once did with Cape Fear, he uses his considerable filmmaking and storytelling skills to add a touch of class and fine polish to a genre built around shock and surprise. DiCaprio is excellent as usual, and I really liked Ruffalo and Kingsley in support. If I have one criticism of the film, its pacing can be a little sloggish, at times. It's odd how much longer this film feels than Marty's 3 hour The Wolf of Wall Street, despite being about 45 minutes shorter. That said, it isn't a boring movie; I just think Scorsese has a better handle on lively pacing in his narrator-driven crime/drama and biopic type movies. The 50's period setting of the asylum is also a tad visually bland, but there's some cool imagery present in dream/flashback type scenarios. Overall, this is definitely a film I'd recommend anyone to check out at least once. The replay value is somewhat hampered by knowing the outcome, but it is interesting to see the film in a different context at least once more afterwards.

** NOTE - I'd be happy to share vague thoughts in the comment section, but please do not reveal the actual twist for any viewers who may venture into that section. Thanks! **

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