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 Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese

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Mighty Aphrodite
Mighty Aphrodite

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PostSubject: Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese    Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese  Icon_minitimeSat Jun 26, 2010 6:29 pm

Hello all! Hope you're all good. Ill use this review as a comeback post too. I, frankly, forgot about this site and suddenly it just hit me from somewhere and here i am now. Hope ill be active as i was, again. Here is my view on Shutter Island which i wrote a couple of weeks back.

Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese  Shutter-island-cannes-poster

I have never agreed with Fuller with his "If the first scene doesn't give you a hard-on then throw the goddamn thing away" theory, perhaps I will later when I mature or perhaps never ever. I have always thought of the opening scene to be a buffer scene where the director can put whatever he wants without having his audience in mind. But Scorsese here uses the very beginning itself to start haunting his audience, as the ferry comes out from the thick mist and Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) himself is sick, we know that everything here and everywhere is going to go wrong. Honestly I don’t remember Taxi Driver at all, its been almost half a decade now since I watched that movie and I wanted to write about shutter island only after watching it again, as there were so many reviews about shutter island which compared and contrasted it with Taxi driver. But I broke my promise to myself and I am writing right now. So, has Scorsese done it again? Will shutter island be the taxi driver of its generation? Has DiCaprio nailed it as De Niro did? For all these questions I seriously have to watch Taxi Driver again.

It is very clear that Scorsese wanted shutter island to be a movie which haunts you neither with its bloodcurdling visuals nor with menacing sounds of whooshes and blaring high-pitched music. This is a psychoanalysis of a single man and there was no need to haunt the viewer with effects and a killer on the run, rather he would haunt you with the possibility that you yourself are going insane and he mocks us by asking “what are you doing watching others go mad?”. Shutter Island does not tell us something that has not been told before, but the way it tells us is the difference. When Teddy meets Dr.Cawley (Ben Kinglsey), he refuses to believe in insanity itself and is astonished by the thought of people not accepting the truth and living in their own lies. This is something everyone thinks about and wonders, when Dr.Cawley replies that “sanity is not a choice, you can’t choose to get over it”, that is when the truth hits us. Yes. Sanity is not a choice at all, you cannot choose your dreams so much to choose your sanity. And henceforth the relationship between Teddy and Dr.Cawley moves in a very fine line and it is as if intended that there is something else between these two, this relationship is defined very well that one can never find as much as a cheese flake in it.

As Teddy Daniels comes closer to the island that very instance he starts seeing visions. This was something that started very soon in the film and does not give the audience the time to get settled, Scorsese must have been praised too much, way too much for his own good, about his portrayal of Travis Bickle and his breakdown that he thought everyone in the cinema hall has come to see another one of Scorsese’s child to breakdown too. The breakdown begins when Teddy starts thinking the prison to be the Nazi camp he had captured when he was in the army, very intricate details such as Teddy glimpsing the barbed wire and notifying his partner Chuck, played by a very sufficient Mark Ruffalo, were very neatly presented. On the contrary scenes such as an orderly giving them new smokes could have been underplayed to prevent it looking obvious. Avoiding such scenes would have helped in the near end where even dialogs such as “you are a rat in a f*cking maze” would not have spoiled the ending. We know how Scorsese can make subtle films when he showcased larger than life characters such as the Henry Hills, the Conways, the LaMottas as guys who can talk and walk with us, but we cannot assume anything else than pressure from production houses for him to lose his potential for subtlety. I noticed it in departed itself, which is one big reason why that movie is not in my “favs” list. Shutter Island stands apart from mediocre posttraumatic-shock movies by its finely defined protagonist. Teddy’s characters delineation and DiCaprio’s performance are outstandingly coordinated, he never lets go off his wife even though he knows she is not with him anymore. He wants to hold her forever, even when Noyce asks him to forget her he deliberately sees her because of the fear that he might let her go. Each and every hallucination and dream of his has a very distinct meaning and catches him in future as if his brain architectures each and every vision of his and administrates his future too. Only after he hallucinates himself to “give a hand” to Rachel Solando he completely accepts that it was his responsibility to have saved his children, this is the point of his so called regression where there is no chance of going back. And this important scene is shot in a profusion of colors mirroring his migraine which is caused by the bright lightning.

Martin Scorsese is infamous for such intricacies and it was not a surprise at all, after this being a psychoanalytic follow up to his legendary Taxi Driver and Cape Fear. The camera work in scenes which exploited the haunting look of the island, Teddy’s hallucinations and vision of the Nazi camp did give the chills but there were moments where some outrageous continuity and technical flaws were very much visible. The one which annoyed me most was, when Teddy is in Ward C and meets Noyce, the lighting was so poor that only after a second he puts the match off the lights go out. This is when I was reminded of Kubrik who used only candles for certain scenes in Barry Lyndon. It is impossible to shoot with the light from a single matchstick, but that is not the point I am trying to make here. There is nothing to complain about the impervious cast , I was not too sure about Sir Ben Kingsley in another intellectual role, more than that he was not a Scorsese movie material until I saw shutter island. Ethereal character portrayal helps the movie to flow in a surreal fashion even though it keeps its touch in the realms of reality. Scorsese’s touch of redemption and god continues in this movie too as the officer who drives back Teddy explains how violence is the only factor which reminds us of god and in this scene it even looks like he will sink his teeth into Teddy's eye if it was not for something that is stopping him. Such instances gives a hope that something more that Teddy himself is keeping him alive and we don't find out what that is until he reaches the lighthouse.

There is so much more in Shutter Island than just the mutilation of a person’s sanity. This movie is a thorough study of human nature and Freud defined mannerism in each one of us. Shutter Island screams that everyone in the planet is sane only as much as they are branded, once you are branded otherwise there is no escape.What Shutter Island lacks is the Kafkaesqueness as Rachel Solando hiding in the cave tells Teddy. If only the movie had not had given the immediate possible exit from it, it could have had a perception less end which would have made it an infinite loop so that both Teddy and the movie would have complemented each other metaphorically. This goes out of question as Teddy picks up his gun and shoots in the lighthouse. Not very sure if it was due to the pressure from the production house or was it his own way that made Scorsese choose so many techniques, cheesy touchés etc that has made a very solid movie on paper look commercialized and simple.
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PostSubject: Re: Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese    Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese  Icon_minitimeSun Jun 27, 2010 8:28 pm

Hey Deathproof,
Welcome back Very Happy
In all honesty, we aren't very active over here anymore, although it would be nice to get a boost again. I am my self also not participating much Embarassed

I'm a moderator of this site now http://whatthemovie.com/
It is a movie quiz but it is getting bigger by the day and a very awesome community with good taste (some of us, not all Razz ). Come join us. I'm Chrisy overthere too

"I'd give my life to be dead"
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