movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link]

PEOPLE: Directed by… Martin Scorsese ?!?! I never see his movies! I’ve only seen The Aviator and Gangs Of New York, and both barely held my interest, were rated 6/10 and 7/10 respectively, and were utterly un-rememberable for me. So this is his first huge success for me, personally. And it is also his most commercially successful movie ever, so I must not be alone in my opinion. Of course, I haven’t seen most of his movies, and most are before the period of time that I prefer to watch movies from.

Screenplay by Laeta Kologridis, who co-wrote the Russian fantasy film Night Watch, as well as 3 eps of the passable-but-forgettable WB live-action superhero series Birds Of Prey. She was also an executive producer, as well as e.p. for Avatar, and polished the script of Scream 3. The book it is based on is by the same writer (Dennis Lehane) that wrote the book that the movie Mystic River was based on. Odd.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley (Prince Of Persia:Sands Of Time, War, Inc., The Wackness, A.I., Species, Schindler’s List), Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, 13 Going On 30, Where The Wild Things Are, 54), Ted Levine (THe Hills Have Eyes, Fast And The Furious, FLUBBER haha).

With Emily Mortimer (who reminds me of someone) (Scream 3), Patricia Clarkson (Six Feet Under–I thought she was the grandma but she was her sister, derp, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Jumanji, 5 eps of Frasier), Max von Sydow (the priest in the Excorcist!), and Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek, But I’m A Cheerleader, Dick).

PLOT SUMMARY: (from IMDB) “Set in 1954, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding nearby.” But really, this movie is much deeper than that plot summary makes it out to be. “Shutter Island” is an anagram of both “Truths and Lies” and “Truths / Denials”. IMDB marks this fact as a spoiler, but I don’t see how it really spoils anything.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Taxpayer money wasted trying to prevent lobotomy of murderer.

QUIRKS: Based on a book, like many good movies. This is a psychological thriller — a drama/mystery/thriller, if you will. Things are not what they seem. An entire island is a prison island — like Escape From New York, but with ultra-order instead of ultra-chaos and ultra-violence.

VISUALS: It’s certainly a striking setting, but this movie is more psychological than visual.

MORALS/POLITICS: Very interesting how in 1954, actually talking to a patient and/or giving him drugs — were considered controversial medical treatments.

BAD STUFF: A minority of people found it “too obvious”, i.e. the twist is obvious, but I know that such people are rarely fooled by anything, and I tend to blame that flaw on the viewer. If endings are too easy to predict, do something to slow your brain down (drugs? meditation?), stop thinking about it, hop on the ride and enjoy it instead of analyzing it to death. Because it seems viewers of this movie had one of 2 exact opinions: Completely awesome, or flawed by being too obvious. It’s the same movie either way.

GOOD STUFF/CONCLUSION: The movie is not what it seems. It pulls you in, and then everything changes. “In order to exceed your audience’s expectations, you must betray them.” And they do that. More than once. I didn’t really even catch on to the ending (i.e the meaning of the last spoken lines) until I read about it, though Carolyn said it was plainly obvious. For me, it just meant that I ended up liking it even more than I did when the movie ended, because it was actually better than what I thought the ending was :)

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.0/10, Netflix: 3.8/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.9/5 stars, which is in fact too low).

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely worth seeing. It’s one of those movies that’s better than it sounds, and is actually worthy of its box office success.

SIMILAR MOVIES: People say it’s “like” Inception, but I think that’s misleading. It’s an easy comparison to make because they both came out around the same time, both star Leonardo DiCaprio, and both have surreal elements including him dealing with fallout from his wife’s death. But Inception is frankly more of a fantasy than Shutter Island is. Shutter Island reminds me of the paranoia from A Scanner Darkly at times. It’s not the same thing as Inception.

Admittedly, Netflix says it recommended this to me based on me liking Inception, Vanilla Sky, and The Fourth Kind. So the comparison might not be as bad as I’m making it.


Chuck Aule: All I know is it’s a mental hospital.
Teddy Daniels: …for the criminally insane.
[queue up Criminally Insane by Slayer]

Nurse Marino: This is mental institution, Marshall, for the criminally insane. Usual isn’t a big part of our day.
[queue up Criminally Insane by Slayer]


My parents said it was really good. Mom: “Liked it a lot–far more than I expected. The obvious “twist” didn’t blow me away, but what about the more subtle psychological twist? Good movie.”

Tim & Tracy said it was really good, weren’t sure why it got such mixed reviews, and is a must see.

McGani said it RULED.

Sister Decadence ‘quite enjoyed’ it (as did all but 1 of her friends who commented on her saying this).

Heather A N: “LOVED this movie…couldn’t shut up about it for days. I didn’t get the last part either until I talked to my mom and sister. They said I was an idiot, but I would agree that I liked it all the more for it.”

Christina G: “Enjoyed the movie and I’m generally not a Scorcese fan.”

Nate O: “I thought it was great. The music was a bit oppressive, but did it’s job.”

Ian B… not so much. Seems based on his review, and comments on that review, that watching the trailer (and to a greater or lesser extent, the movie itself) really ruins this movie.

Side rant:

Personally, I think it best to devote as few brain cycles as possible to anticipating the plot; it only makes things less enjoyable. And as such, outside of movie theatres, I only watch a trailer to something I haven’t seen every few years. I think it’s far more satisfying to watch a trailer AFTER the movie.

A rare negative review from my own circle of people, iDRMRSR, who rarely agrees with me anyway, being my parents’ age and mostly liking older movies that I would never watch in a million years, and thus already exposed to most plots from past movies: “This movie, unfortunately, was basically just The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari remade into a bigtime CGI thrillar. I felt completely cheated by the too obvias ending. I was actually jumping up and down and swearing that Scorsese couldn’t come up with a moar inventive twist on the old Insane Asylum genre here. By means of comparisan, I think this is why I liked Inceptian so much…that movie had a real good ending…and not oanly that there was JUST enuff questian at the end to make it ambiguas.”

I’d never consider it a “cgi thriller”, it’s barely a visual movie. a CGI thriller would be Avatar, or something mostly in CGI (i.e. animated films).

OTHER REVIEWS: Outlaw Vern’s review.Mood: annoyed with this piece of shit device that’s barely worth the effort of owning for free
Music: NoMeansNo – Faith