I won’t deny that Martin Scorsese has more talent than more directors working today. He’s pretty much a genius. His full skill set is on display in Shutter Island, but that’s really all this movie has going for it.
The premise, based on the book by Dennis Lehane (and adapted for the big screen by Laeta Kalogridis) is completely obvious from the trailer. Two federal marshals are sent to Shutter Island, where America’s most dangerously insane criminals are held (Alcatraz on meth) to investigate the disappearance of an inmate–er–patient. But once they get there, things get spooky.
Scorsese’s ability to build tension is immediately evident, and some individual scenes are effective enough to make you squirm in your seat. But a few good scenes does not make a movie. I try not to read reviews before going into a movie, but I did catch a blurb by some critic that said, ‘Director Martin Scorsese channels his inner M. Night Shyamalan.’ Immediately, I thought, ‘Well, I guess Leo’s going to turn out to be crazy. And if that’s the case, I’m going to be really pissed.’ Well, that’s exactly what I got. Did anyone else think that this was the completely obvious turn of events that was to come? I’m so tired of these types of ‘gotcha!’ endings I can’t even stand it. I left the theatre really angry that Mr. Scorsese used his name to entice me to waste two and a half hours on this. Despite the filmmakers’ best efforts, and some really really slick production values, this is bait and switch, B horror movie.