SHUTTER ISLAND

http://www.shutterisland.com

USA 2010  Directed by: Martin Scorsese  Novel: Dennis Lehane Script: Laeta Kalogridis  Produced by: Brad Fisher, Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer, Martin Scorsese  Cinematography: Robert Richardson  Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker   Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kinglsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson

I must admit that Marty has pissed me off big time a long while ago. Being a fan of his work for decades he dared to release the awful GANGS OF NEW YORK in 2002 (what was he thinking?) and when I finally thought I might get over it and he might turn things around he had the audacity to rip of, violate, rape and simply copy one of the finest Hong Kong movies post 1997, INFERNAL AFFAIRS, and turn it into a piece of lackluster Hollywood junk, plus receive a bunch of Oscars on top, awards that rightfully belong to Alan Mak’s / Wai-Keung Lau’s original and not to Scorsese’s copy crap. Marty is d-e-a-d ever since as far as I am concerned, but well, old habits die hard and I gave SHUTTER ISLAND a try. I tried hard. And died hard.

Other critics have already discussed the question how much a director can possibly betray his audience. The answer is still the same it always was: he cannot. Yes, pretending for almost two hours that things are real while in fact they are not makes for a great twist at the end, but renders the movie pointless in a nanosecond. I cannot recall any movie that relies on this kind of “technique” that would have succeeded. What is left are disappointment and the feeling of being fooled. Moreover it makes us look like idiots the superior director can toy around with any way he likes.

What is even worse is that SHUTTER ISLAND is very clumsy in hiding the truth from the audience. After barely 30 minutes DiCaprio’s flashbacks obviously become delusions. And whoever hasn’t figured out what’s going on after he has exchanged his outfit for the prisoners’ gown that he will wear throughout the second half of the movie must be as retarded as the inmates of SHUTTER ISLAND.

If it wasn’t for the final 360 degree turn SHUTTER ISLAND could have been a good effort, maybe Scorsese’s best in many years. The story, setting and location are appealing and outstanding, the cast, acting and direction are solid. In the beginning at least. Problem is that the script gives it all away very early and forces everyone to comply. From there it’s downhill and the crew and cast become as delusional as the protagonist. Nothing makes sense anymore, everything is overdone and SHUTTER ISLAND becomes annoying, full of overtones, completely lacking complexity and subtle nuances. When lightning strikes and migraine reigns you can’t help but stop taking things seriously.

The movie makes a lot of mistakes, but the crucial issue is that it solely gears towards a surprise ending that is not surprising. Genre movies like IDENTITY may get away with it because, well, they are genre movies. We won’t forgive Scorsese though because he should have more to say than just peekaboo. Well he hasn’t and let’s not forget that all Marty is doing here once again is to adapt: SHUTTER ISLAND isn’t genuine material, it is a novel made into movie.

SHUTTER ISLAND is highly efficient in wasting its resources, opportunities and our time. Well done. It’s dumb to think that we wouldn’t figure out the truth until the end. It’s presumptuous to rely on the audience having an extremely low IQ. SHUTTER ISLAND is the true imbecile. It’s ST-STU-STUTTER ISLAND and deserves capital punishment.

J.



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