Monday, March 01, 2010

Shutter Island

What do you get when you cross Martin Scorsese with Alfred Hitchcock, and throw in a little Twilight Zone as well? Shutter Island, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as U. S. Marshal Teddy Daniels.

It's 1954, and Daniels (a veteran of WWII, and still reeling from memories of the liberation of Dachau) is called on to investigate the escape of a patient from a maximum security hospital/prison for the criminally insane located on Boston's Shutter Island.

I really liked this film. I liked the old B-movie look, the haunting music (which perfectly contributes to the foreboding atmosphere), the acting, the special effects, and especially the engaging story. It's not as scary as the previews would lead you to expect. But it's a psychological thriller punctuated with several different disturbing plot lines. Director Scorsese keeps you guessing about what's really going on the whole 138 minutes. I won't give you any clues; you'll have to figure it out for yourself.

One of the underlying themes of the movie is the power of guilt and shame. We deal with our transgressions in all sorts of creative ways, but the point is we must deal with them - either by denial, repentance and faith in Jesus, or something else in between.

Fear is also a big theme of the movie. I like my son's analysis, which I'll quote from his review in the FSU newspaper: "Shutter Island, while obviously no slasher, is deeply, deeply rooted in every fear of the American 20th century, from insanities and lobotomies to the Atomic Bomb to the Holocaust to the advancement of technology to the perils of suburbia...."

Shutter Island is rated R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity. I didn't find those things objectionable. However, scenes of violence involving children will definitely offend some of you, so be advised.

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