Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mrs. Amanda Reviews SHUTTER ISLAND

Kyle and I saw two movies this weekend, and we differed in our opinion on both of them (the other was Alice in Wonderland).  So, here's what I thought:

Shutter Island is one fucked up, crazy shit of a psychological thriller, and I really liked it.

I usually start out these reviews with a quick synopsis of the movie, but I'm not sure how to do that with this one without giving away the goods.  So, here it is in one sentence: Leonardo DiCaprio, a US Marshall/WWII vet, goes to Shutter Island, a prison/mental institution for the criminally insane, in order to investigate the disappearance of one of the inmates and uncover the location of the man whom he believes killed his wife by setting fire to their apartment building.  The movie can be described as a psychological film noir with a hint of horror.

Here is what I liked:
1.  Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Ben Kingsley.  As I have said before, Leonardo has really become such a good actor over the years, and his gradual breakdown throughout the movie is unnerving and powerful.  Ruffalo and Kingsley counter his huge presence with very subtle and low-key characters that are equally brilliant.
2.  The music is center stage from the very beginning.  I didn't understand why it was so loud and The Shining-esque at the beginning, but it started to make sense as the movie went on.  There were also very poignant moments where the music would swell and then silence abruptly.  Scary.
3.  And speaking of scary, I thought this was going to be a horror movie and it wasn't.  There are some gruesome images, but they aren't shot in the style of a horror film and aren't portrayed as such.

Here is what I didn't like:
1.  Leo's Man vs. Wild stunts.  He's climbing up and down sheer-faced cliffs and swimming the Atlantic in choppy weather.  Oy.
2.  It's weird that I can't think of anything else that I didn't like, and yet Kyle didn't dig the movie at all.  That's pretty unusual for us.  So, I guess I wasn't a fan of the fact that we weren't on the same page.  I'll have to bring that up in counseling. ;)

This movie isn't for everyone.  There are some pretty graphic Holocaust images, and Leonardo's character offers up some unsettling dream sequences.  However, if you can handle it, I'd highly recommend Shutter Island.

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