Sunday, February 28, 2010

D.A.N.Y.E. System Review for "Shutter Island"

Welcome to the D.A.N.Y.E. System 2.0 review for Martin Scorsese's film
"Shutter Island". For those of you who don't remember what the acronyms stand for, it's Dialogue, "Awe" or "Awful" factor, Nudity, "Yes" Factor and Entertainment Level. Ever since I saw my first preview for this movie last summer, I set my expectations high. After reading the book, my expectations were sent to an almost unreachable level, and it wasn't until about a half hour before seeing the movie that I realized that there was a distinct possibility that I would be let down. Needless to say I was somewhat let down, but nevertheless read the review and see the movie for yourself before passing judgement.

Dialogue- Right off the bat it was apparent that the dialogue in this movie would be very frantic and fast paced. The first scene in the movie shows U.S. Marshall's Teddy and Chuck on a boat to Shutter Island, talking about the mission and getting to know each other with incredibly quick banter that would continue for the duration of the movie. It almost seemed sped up to the point of unprofessionalism, and I wasn't really sure what the benefit of this style of conversation brought to the film. The writing was well done, but let us not kid ourselves, Lehane's novel served the story up on a silver platter of perfection. With that being said, I wasn't too crazy about the adaptation from book to screen, most notably during the stories most important scene at the lighthouse, when Teddy is forced to accept some harsh realizations about who is really is. I felt that scene really lacked the passion, fear and closure that the book brought to life so wonderfully.

"Awe" or "Awful" Factor- In this case, "Awe". Now the movie as a whole didn't really awe me too much, however it did feature some of the best dream/hallucination sequences that I have ever seen. To the casual movie viewer, it may have been hard to understand at all times what was unfolding before your eyes because it was very confusing and somewhat all over the place. However, I thought it was fantastic and really helped move the story along, all leading up to the (Spoiler Alert!) inevitable insanity of DiCaprio's character.

Nudity- This movie had about as much nudity as an Amish after-prom, and if that attempt at a joke was too dumb for you to comprehend I'll spell it out for you in laments terms: there was none. In the book there is a flashback sex scene between Teddy and his wife Deloris, but I guess that didn't make the cut to the big screen. Sure, you wouldn't really expect a physiatric thriller, set in a 1950's insane asylum to have much nudity, but would it have really killed them to throw in a boob or two?

"Yes" Factor- Despite my ridiculously high expectations for this movie, it still left me walking away with that yes factor that makes movies work for me. I think the main reason why it worked so well was because of how much I found myself rooting for/hoping against all odds for Leo's character. Right from the get-go when I noticed his pink and green flowered tie, it was pretty evident that he wasn't all there in the head, but that still doesn't stop you from wanting to believe that there is some kind of conspiracy going on against him, and that he really is not crazy.
Mark Ruffalo's character "Chuck" aka the other Marshall aka Dr. Sheenan, didn't bring much to the table, and I felt his role disappointed me. In the book Chuck does a great job of reassuring Teddy, following orders, and helping to crack the case; where as in the movie I found him to be a complete bore, and terrible actor. Ruffalo, along with the lighthouse scene, will go down as the two things I disliked the most about "Shutter Island."
Despite being hard to watch at certain times (Spoiler Alert! i.e. the last dream sequence where we see Leo drag his three dead children out of a lake/murder his manic depressive wife) "Shutter Island" definitely has many re-watchable characteristics. I'm looking forward to seeing it a few more times to really get a good sense of what is real and what is all a set up. After all, nothing in Shutter Island is what it appears to be.

Entertainment Level- I give "Shutter Island" a 9 out of 10 when it comes to how entertaining it was. Now I wouldn't give it that same grade in terms of overall performance, but it was most certainly entertaining. Any movie that leaves you confused, is visually stimulating, and keeps you on your toes throughout the duration means that is succeeded in entertaining you. Yes, the more you think about it, and I'm sure the more you re-watch it, the more you will start to realize how obvious it is that the whole operation is staged, but it is a great mystery and certainly a grade A mind fuck. Everything snowballs extremely quickly towards the end, and you have to stay on your toes to pick up on the chaos that is unraveling all around him.

My recommendation: READ THE BOOK!!


1 comment:

  1. i like it yeezy, the "why you all wet baby," line didn't translate very well to the big screen though.