Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Film Review : Shutter Island

Shutter Island

Here’s the thing, I’ll see anything Scorsese puts out regardless of the source material. The fact that he adapted a book that not only have I read by enjoyed quite a bit only helped to put my ass in the seat. Going in, knowing what I did about the material and with my expectations as they were, I was fully prepared to be let down, feeling that perhaps my standards were set too high.

Fortunately this is not the case as Scorsese has crafted a damned tight mystery/thriller that utilizes every bit of his style and skill while staying faithful to the novel he’s adapting. If there was one thing that was never in doubt when I stepped into the theater, it was whether or not Scorsese could pull off some amazing period work, considering he manages to make just about any decade feel organic, real, and tangible.

What holds the film together is the acting. Remember a decade ago when Leo DiCaprio was just some fresh-faced kid whose acting talent was overshadowed by the fact that he was the object-of-affection for just about every teenage girl in the US? That kid has been replaced by a serious actor able to hold his own along the likes of Ben Kingsley and Max Von freakin’ Sydow.

The only element of the film that does not truly work is the editing. At times it feels downright choppy. While the pacing is held and it doesn’t get dull, some of the stylistic choices seem a bit jarring, though it’s nothing so serious that it ruins the film.

As far as the narrative goes, everything is logical and direct. It’s not impossible to find plotholes, but it’s just as easy to fill them in with a little deductive reasoning. I will say that the film toys with the ending a bit, adding a bit of ambiguity that the novel didn’t present. And I think the film is all the stronger for it.

All in all, not Scorsese’s finest work but a valiant effort and definitely worth a watch.

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