Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shutter Island: A Film Review (RIP #6)



This was one creepy movie. My first film for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII event. I usually avoid scary movies. Horror movies with psychological aspects or with blood and gore... either way, they are pretty much off limits. Supernatural I can deal with, but still avoid. But I knew that Dennis Lehane is not really a writer in the horror genre, so I felt like there had to be more to this than it appeared (from the trailers).

I came to this movie with no knowledge of the book or the plot. I have read two and a half Dennis Lehane books, and while I find him a very talented writer, I find his books too intense for me. At least the thrillers. So I had no interest in reading Shutter Island. My husband bought the DVD and I knew I was going to watch it, so I intentionally avoided all reviews or comments on the movie.

Shutter Island starts with a scene on a boat going out to Shutter Island, taking two U.S. Marshals to investigate the case of an escaped inmate at a mental institution. The pair are partners, but they are meeting for the first time on this assignment.

The film also starts with spooky, ominous music. I was pretty freaked out just by the music. And with plenty of rain and bad weather, on a remote island, the mood is set.

After the marshals arrive, they are introduced to the doctor who runs the institution, which is run more like a prison.  The main character, Teddy Daniels, begins to have dreams, hallucinations, flashbacks to memories of past traumas. At that point, I wasn't sure where the movie was going.

I am a stickler for not revealing enough of a plot to ruin it for someone who has not watched a movie or read a book, and I don't know how much I can say about this movie without doing that.


An aside: This was the perfect time period for me. Post-World War II with flashbacks to the war and the aftermath. I love mystery novels about World War II and the lead up to the war and the post-war years. Had I known the setting for this novel, I might have given it a try earlier. But I am glad I didn't. Seeing the movie would have been a different experience if I had.

My recommendation: If you don't mind scary movies, some blood and gore, then watch it. After watching it, I felt like it was really well done. While watching, I was in a state of confusion much of the time. The book and the movie had mixed reactions when released, and they are not everyone's cup of tea.


7 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the movie as an excusion into Val Lewton style psychological/Gothic suspense - it is a very faithful adaptation of the novel. Annoyingly I twigged to the plot about a third of the way though due to the odd spelling of the names, which is a lot more obvious on the printed page of course (I'll say no more to avoid spoilers).

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    1. I liked the movie the more I thought about it... and would probably enjoy it more on viewing it a second time. I don't think I would have liked the book. But I am thinking of giving The Given Day and Live by Night a shot.

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  2. I quite liked the filmm Tracy but I though the ending a bit flat. Like Sergio I also worked out what the plot was early on. But it was still enjoyable.

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    1. I was totally in the dark until the end of the movie, and even then wasn't sure. I usually enjoy this type of movie afterwards, when I have the whole picture. While watching the movie, I am much too caught up and tense.

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  3. Considering the twist at the end (which I didn't have totally worked out, but had an inkling of the first time I watched it), I've enjoyed this movie more when I've rewatched it. I have high tolerance for spoilers; sometimes how the pieces fit together is more interesting to me than the completed whole. Plus, I'm a sucker for Martin Scorsese and Mark Ruffalo. I read the book a while back and was surprised at how faithful the film adaptation was.

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    1. Since I always enjoy thrillers and scary movies with a lot of tension better the 2nd time around, I probably should give up on my intolerance for spoilers (at least in that area). I think I would enjoy this movie in a re-watch; my husband felt like he was being manipulated, and wasn't interested in seeing it again.

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  4. Ditto for the twist for me, I'm afraid. My good lady wife had it pegged from the trailer. Personally, I held out hope that there would be a more interesting outcome... never mind, though, only two hours wasted!

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