Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, 2010)
No presentation needed here for Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, GoodFellas, The Departed, Shine a Light) an Academy Award winner for Best Director (The Departed). Scorsese, is probably the best American director breathing right now. With a cast of regular Leonardo Di Caprio and newcomers, but talented Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Max von Sydow, and John Carroll Lynch Shutter Island stands strong as one of the best films of 2010.
The story: a marshall, Teddy Daniels (Di Caprio), and his new assistant (Ruffalo) are called on Shutter Island, a mental penitentiary, to investigate on the vanishing of a patient. As the story advances Daniels discovers that the vanishing may involve bigger issues on the Island.
First of all, the visuals are simply stunning and the entire atmosphere, the weather around the Island creates a tension that only a great master of storytelling could handle, in the like of Kurosawa’s Rashomon. Scorsese, has directed so many great films to stay in the Pantheon of directors that he doesn’t have to surpass himself on every picture he does. However, with Shutter Island he offers one of his most inspired films since GoodFellas. It’s not a surprise that there are many references to the films that Marty cherishes; The Haunting, Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Shinning, Cape Fear, and many many more pictures especially Hitchcock films! Instead of simply citing those classics, he uses them to tell his story and populate it with them. They are visual references that do not obliterate the meaning to those who haven’t seen the films but they enrich the way the story works. Knowing those references gives you the chance to understand how Scorsese knows and over all loves movies. This is this love of movies that we feel all along of his oeuvre but even stronger here in Shutter Island where he manages to translate it for us and makes the viewer so enthusiast about films. He asks his viewer to always keep an eye on the screen. The editing directly refers to the way Alfred Hitchcock was telling a story: with the visuals. If a scene needs an explanation it’s because the way it was shot was wrong. We must have every crucial element on the screen. This is the purity of cinema, the narration is done by the images and the editing, and we don’t need explanations to understand what’s happening.
With all that said, Shutter Island stands like a solid rock into the career of Martin Scorsese so as it will be a hard opponent to beat to conquer the title of the best film of 2010! A must see!
A review by Michaël Parent