February 19, 2010

Leo Returns To Bawstin In Style: Shutter Island Review


"Shutter Island" is thrilling example of how movies should be made. If "Avatar" is what happens when a  film wizard gets unlimited cash money to spend on technology, "Shutter Island" is what happens when a master storyteller gets his loot to spend on story, characters, and just sheer creative movie-making power. Based off the novel by Dennis Lehane, the film plays like a breath of fresh air in a cinematically penitentiary full of wolfmen, bounty hunters, and Amanda Seyfrieds.

By now you probably know the story is about two "dooley appointid Fideral Mahshals" who descend on a island based psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane to find a missing patient. I'm going to lightly dabble in spoiler territory and say there is WAY more to the story than that. Speaking of this story, this is a screenplay that moves as quickly as patient breaking free from an asylum. Writer Laeta Kalogridis (fresh off story duties on "Avatar") has crafted a script that contains interesting characters, multiple plot twists, and a firm grasp of the overall story that serves as a type of anchor the thrilling narrative.

But let's talk about direction, after all this is Martin Scorsese we are talking about here. Not counting the Rolling Stones documentary, this is is first film after winning his long overdue Academy Award for "The Departed," and needless to say he's at the top of his game. Wait, in fact, not only he is operating in fine form, but he is also taking risks with his style. There is one giant tracking shot in the middle that is incredibly shocking and I challenge you to forget it. This is a dark pulse pounding movie and Scorsese is the grand overseer of the tension that permeates the film.

All parties involved here are operating at the top of their game. Leonardo DiCaprio proves why he is one of the greatest living actors around (which makes him worthy of Bar Refaeli by the way). The supporting cast is dialed in, the direction is masterful, and the story is so intriguing that the film demands multiple viewing. In fact the only thing that's missing from the film is a cameo from Boston hometown hero Matt Damon, or Ben Affleck, or considered last nights victory of the Lakers, Celtic Paul Pierce.

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