this review contains **** BIG, SHINING, GLARING SPOILERS ****, so you are advised not to read this if you haven't seen the film Shutter Island and intend to. everything below the poster is unwise to read if you insist on seeing this film.
there's always reason to be suspicious when a film has a "postponed" release date. why? because when the film is unveiled on the new date, it tends to be a load of rubbish. fears are that Wall Street 2 must be a right mess if it's been pulled from Cannes in May for a release in September after the studio saw it. surely a Scorsese film, of all films, couldn't be all that bad? oh yes, it can, sadly. pulled from an Oscar friendly October to be released in a quiet, attention grabbing February always looked suspicious.
where to start? well, with the trailer for it. you've seen the trailer, yeah? and when you saw the trailer you thought "no, the plot twist can't be as obvious as......", didn't you? sadly, the whole plot and twist really, really is as obvious as the trailer hints at, or rather blatantly suggests.
now, you could argue that it's a good film made into a bad experience by a poorly thought out and designed promotion campaign. sadly, no, this isn't the case. any suspicion you may have about the "great twist" is laid bare in the first five minutes in one particular scene, illustrated below.
much like that other "great mystery" film, The Sixth Sense, if you pay attention for the first ten or fifteen minutes then you get given the whole film. whereas The Sixth Sense was slightly entertaining in getting to the conclusion you know, Shutter Island is distinctly pedestrian and tiresome it has to be said. just in case you weren't paying attention right from the start, the first hour of the film bombards you with scene after scene telling you that yes, the plot twist is really that straightforward.
Martin Scorsese touching on the horror-thriller genre for the first time since Cape Fear should have been an exciting, thrilling work of cinema. instead it's a dull, poorly paced challenge of endurance for the audience.
i can only imagine that the rave reviews the film is getting are based on, oddly, the best performance to date in the career of Leonardo Di Caprio. he is Scorsese's current favourite actor, and after ruining Gangs Of New York and making The Aviator more or less unwatchable, he improves on the decent performance in The Departed to at last show Scorsese fanatics why he keeps getting parts in his films. what a pity he gives his best performance in what will go down, when the excitement fades, as one of Scorsese's all time worst films.
the less said about the remainder of the cast, however, the better. Mark Ruffalo as Di Caprio's "partner" is amateur dramatics at its most average, whereas "Sir" Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow apparently felt an urge to have a Scorsese film on their biography page and didn't particularly care about much else.
there was just so much scope for this to be brilliant it really is tragic to see the drivel turned out. off the top of my head, and i remind you of **** SPOILERS **** before you read on, they could have done something as innovative and interesting as have an actual escaped prisoner, or my hope for having it as the inmates had taken over and the real staff were locked up in the mysterious "C Block" to which no one could go. but no, instead we get a plain, simple obvious twist that all and sundry could see upfront.
what should have been the first great film of 2010 could well turn out, 8 months from now, to be the biggest disappointment of the year. instead of something in the league of The Usual Suspects or The Prestige Scorsese has churned out a predictable, by the numbers and dull film that probably wouldn't have gone a cinema release had anyone else directed it.
incredibly poor form from arguably the greatest living director at the moment, i really hope the next effort is better.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!