Shutter Island (2010)

I wanted to try and expand the content of this blog a little – so first up: Shutter Island.

I was reluctant to give this a shot as I’m not so great with films that I’d rather not watch by myself in the dark during a thunderstorm – but Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and the “psychological thriller” genre classification led me to try last night.

The film takes place on an island that houses an asylum for the criminally insane. US Marshall Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) is called there to investigate the disappearance of a patient and, in the course of his encounters with the other residents during his exploration of the facility, begins to question his own sanity.

I’m someone who needs to know that traumatic fiction turns out ok – I hated The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo intensely but had to read to the end to make sure the conclusion was sufficiently benign – and about 15 minutes from the climax of this particular film I Googled the ending to ensure it was something I wanted to see. If you haven’t seen the film, don’t click here.

It’s a heartbreaking story – I’m not sure that’s the first term that would come to most minds but all the suspense and mystery, the sinister soundtrack and the eerie cinematography throughout are an ornate and elaborate cloak for a movie that, for me, is about perception and human fallibility. It left me a little scared – realism always does – but also incredibly sad.

I don’t want this to become a movie review blog – as well as not wanting to ruin the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I’d much rather write about my experience of the film than critique it – so I’m going to maintain the music element in every post. This could have been on the soundtrack (but wasn’t):

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand (1994)

Similarly eerie, from the opening bell chime to the menacing vocal, the quiet suspense punctuated by organ chords would fit just as well with a silent movie horror (minus the vocals!) as a film noir detective mystery. Or in this case, a psychological thriller. Previous uses include Songs in the Key of X: Music From and Inspired by the X-Files and the Scream Trilogy.

As well as Leonardo DiCaprio who we all know has developed into a widely respected and mature actor since the Titanic blip, Michelle Williams is surprising me with every film I see – Brokeback Mountain, Deception, Blue Valentine, Shutter Island, I’m excited to see where both of them will go next…