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Review

Psychological thriller impresses with acting, story

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February 26, 2010

It takes a while to even collect my opinion of the new Scorsese film, “Shutter Island.” The movie is filled with so many powerful and disturbing images, and twists and turns, it’s hard to piece it all together. The movie was as interesting as it was unsettling and confusing.

The previews for the film made it out to be more of a horror film, but it really is more of a psychological thriller and detective mystery. I didn’t expect the story to be as complicated as it was from seeing the previews. It starts out with U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) embarking on a journey to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient at the highly guarded mental institution for the severely mentally disturbed located on the island. What starts out as a simple detective mystery twists into a great character piece by DiCaprio.

The movie has a great ensemble cast including Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Jackie Earle Haley, Max Von Sydow, and Patricia Clarkson, but the film almost completely rests on DiCaprio’s shoulders. This is possibly one of the best performances that I have ever seen by DiCaprio. He made the character very compelling and believable, as well as making the audience really feel compassion for him. The other actors complimented the main character with ease. Kingsley was a convincing doctor who would stop at nothing to protect his institution. Michelle Williams was chilling as DiCaprio’s deceased wife. Patricia Clarkson took a very small role in the film but made it a very important and pivotal one.

This film was shot beautifully. The island has a creepy and ominous feel, and DiCaprio’s nightmares paint disturbingly intense and sometimes beautiful imagery. The movie is filled with hauntingly gothic scenery. Ironically, some of the most disturbing scenes are the vibrantly colorful ones.

The only flaw that I found in this film was that at times it seemed a little messy and hard to follow. The main character has many strange nightmares that mix with reality, leaving you wondering what is real and what is fantasy. It was a little confusing at times, but nothing too serious to detract from how great the film is.

Regardless of whether you like DiCaprio or Scorsese, you will enjoy this film. It’s entertaining, disturbing and frightening. It takes you on a journey through some of the darkest places, but leaves you wondering about the value of life. It’s certainly a film to be discussed and a film worth seeing.

Natalie Conrad is a junior journalism and marketing communications major and French minor. She enjoys running,reading, writing, playing guitar, and traveling.