When one thinks of Leonado DiCaprio, he’s generally pictured floating in icy water or speaking in Shakespearian verse. So the idea of him stepping into a more chilling role is difficult to imagine at first.
But in the recent Blu Ray release, Shutter Island, step into that role he does. And quickly too – this film does’t hang around.
Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule, his partner are brought to Shutter Island by ferry to investigate the disappearance of a woman. But Shutter Island isn’t a holiday destination (not that it sounds like one) it’s one big high security mental institution and the woman that has vanished is a dangerous patient.
Soon after arriving on the island a heavy storm hits the area, this hampers the invesiagtion and also makes it impossible for anyone to leave. Soon Teddy, his partner and the staff at the facility are all just as captive as the patents contained in the padded cells and dark elements begin to reveal themselves to the visiting detectives.
Aside from the investigation the detective has a lot on his mind. His past is filled with pain and his sleep seems constantly interrupted by nightmares about the things that he has experienced.
As the investigation deepens, the distinction between patient, staff and detective becomes unclear and soon Teddy wonders whether he may soon become a permanent resident at this isolated asylum.
Shutter Island is a big budget Hollywood movie, as you would expect with DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley on the cast. And with this in mind, there are certain things that are a given:
The visuals will be great, the performances will be of a high calibre, and eventually, the film will have a nice pay-off with the loose ends nicely tied.
One thing that is less certain about such productions is whether or not the film will manage to create a level of fear or tension within the audience.
It seems that in the case of Shutter Island, to be able to achieve this the viewer must first avoid contact with anyone who has seen the film, read the book or just avoid anyone that has heard about the plot, as the impact of this movie rests on a rather crucial twist that it seems that everyone wants to spoil for everyone else.
There are of course those who may have no prior knowledge of Shutter Island, but who figure things out along the way. That’s fair enough of course, and it would be hard to fully predict what happens.
But to fully enjoy a film like this, it does help to disconnect the rational part of your brain a little, just until the end. That way you’re less likely to feel let down or duped as the big reveal takes place.
Teddy’s visions/dreams are by far the most disturbing thing about the film. CGI is used to good effect to make the nightmarish scenes come to life. And as the story sets out to bewilder the audience, it’s not too hard to become entangled and intrigued enough to follow it to the bitter end.
For a Hollywood blockbuster trying to scare, it ain’t half bad.