I love it when a brilliant director decides to make a good old fashioned genre film: Such is the case with Shutter Island, a twitchy, twisty, psychological horror film, directed with obvious glee by Martin Scorsese with nods to Alfred Hitchcock and the best traditions of film noir and pulp fiction.
In 1952, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardio DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) have been sent by ferry to the Shutter Island asylum for the criminally insane to investigate the escape of a prisoner.
Once they arrive, the "no exit" aspect of this island comes into high relief. And the island becomes its own ominous character—craggy rocks and cliffs, swaying trees, foreboding stone buildings. The patients, likewise, are hunched, toothless, menacing—exactly what the genre calls for.
A film like this is all about paranoia. "You'll never get off this island," one person after the next whispers to Teddy in conspiratorial tones. Does the hospital have secrets? Are they really conducting dangerous experiments on the patients for...