Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shutter Island

by Pa Rock
Film Critic

Director Martin Scorsese has done a most respectable job of channeling Alfred Hitchcock in his new release, Shutter Island. The story is set in the 1950's on a remote island in Boston Harbor that is home to an insane asylum/prison housing America's most dangerous lunatics. Shutter Island is a place from which there is no escape.

The Hitchcock influence on Shutter Island is apparent early on with the background music that keeps getting louder and more intense, always nearing a crescendo. The old institution sitting atop the cliffs could easily be Manderly, as could the inside of the classic home occupied by the asylum's chief doctor, Ben Kingsley. There are also cryptic flashbacks, rats and crazy people galore, suspected Nazi's, a raging hurricane, and a plenitude of plot twists and startling revelations. Nothing is as it seems on Shutter Island!

There are even two versions of Jimmy Stewart in this suspenseful period piece, Leonard DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo. DiCaprio is a World War II vet who was present at the liberation of Dachau. In the intervening years he has become a United States Marshall and gone through a grievous tragedy. DiCaprio deals with a stable of personal demons while trying to figure out what is really occurring on Shutter Island. Mark Ruffalo is DiCaprio's steadying influence who follows him around the island trying to keep him focused on what he needs to do.

Shutter Island is a dark and disturbing place. It is where nightmares merge with madness, where hallucinations weave in and out of reality. It is a place where monsters live - and good men die.

Shutter Island is a place that Alfred Hitchcock would have loved..

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