If you read yesterday’s preview based on the novel Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane you are up to speed on the plotline. Brilliant psychiatrists are trying to make breakthroughs in psychiatric medicine by virtue of proving that pharmaceuticals combined with the Gestalt method can restore a patient's awareness of reality. If this happens lobotomies and other ugly procedures that transform patients into mindless zombies can be made permanently obsolete. Leo DiCaprio plays an FBI agent searching for a missing patient on Shutter Island. Unfortunately there are 67 patients and he does not realize until the end that the final patient is himself. Tragically, even with the help of his brilliant and dynamic psychiatrists (Marc Ruffalo and Sir Ben Kingsley) our sympathetic protagonist cannot allow this realization to be lasting. He simply reverts back into the web of lies he had woven to protect himself from the haunting truth. He murdered his wife after she maniacally drowned their three children due to psychosis. Michelle Williams plays his wife in flashbacks and surprisingly does a terrible job of it. She is unconvincing and silly.
The theatrics of Teddy’s (DiCaprio’s) flashbacks are so puzzlingly hyperbolic that they are like cartoons. They make little or no sense and might as well be the beginning of a James Bond movie instead of the filler for this "thriller". The most offensive part of this production is the concentration camp flashbacks. DiCaprio somehow with Marty Scorsese at the helm equates the American soldiers’ execution of SS concentration camp guards with the Nazi officers’ crimes against humanity. Are we to think that military executions of armed combatants who gassed and burned hundreds of thousands of people is commensurate in any way? Is the "great" Scorsese a moron? Moreover, just what the hell is any flashback of Dachau or any other death camp doing in a film about a psychiatric facility with a patient trying to cope with the death of his family?
The worst part of this review and the movie is that both spoil the "climactic" ending. How could any viewer feel suspense rather than disgust at the acting? DiCaprio tries so hard while Marc Ruffalo smiles non-stop. Why would the characters smile while trying to play cover up so that Teddy could figure out the truth on his own? Everything is obvious and ridiculous. Only a total buffoon would be fooled by this lame pretense. There are so many hints one has to wonder where the mystery is. When Ben Kingsley says "it is as if she just evaporated through the walls" I wanted to do that! It would have taken me out of the theater early enough to enjoy my Friday afternoon. Shutter Island is a failure, and frankly it is a cinematic island, surrounded by critics on all sides. Is Scorsese done after making one worthless picture? Time will tell…
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