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.


Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

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).

Sarah said...

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.

TracyK said...

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.

TracyK said...

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.

Katherine said...

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.

TracyK said...

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.

Puzzle Doctor said...

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!