They should have titled the creepiest edition of the Scorcese DiCaprio lovefest Shudder Island. I mean that as an unsnarky compliment. I bit my nails down to the cuticle watching Scorcese delve into the same well that inspired his remake of Cape Fear. This is fifties noir where good guys were bad, but not as evil as everyone else, especially those sexy sexy women.

DiCaprio tries to find truth in an environment where everyone feeds him lies. He’s smarter then everyone else and he can see through their sinful ways. A woman is missing in a dangerous psychiatric institution and he’s the only one who might be able to find the answers. There’s cryptic clues, trippy dreams and so much paranoia you get tricked into thinking this might be a modern classic. Movies like The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart or Touch of Evil or Vertigo didn’t worry about every aspect of the movie trying to make sense. They threw in guns, tough guys, flawed heroes, and femme fatales and they let the chips fall where they may.

Shutter Island though follows the dangerous precedent started by Usual Suspects. You believe throughout the movie one reality and then are told nothing is how it seemed. The audience is then reshown earlier pivotal scenes from the “correct” perspective to learn that Bruce Willis is a ghost or that Brad Pitt is imaginary. I much prefer old school moviemaking where weird things happen in a movie for no explainable reason rather than every nuance be a hint for the “true” imagined reality.

I am trying my hardest not to spoil the twists for those that have not seen the movie. But if the last line spoken to Leo in Shutter Island means what I believe it does, I loved it.

2 thoughts on “Shudder

  1. Dave – Good review. And, normally I would have to agree with you. But, armed only with the knowledge that the movie has a “shock twist ending” ( thanks to the ad hype) It was WAY to easy for me to figure out what was going on maybe 10 minutes into the film. During the meet with all the hospital staff I casually leaned into my wife and said “for the record, this is whats going on”. The film from that point on, for me, became just a series of funhouse antics designed to scare me and keep me off balance. Fascinated but not scared, I wasn’t fooled at all. Great visuals but I was kinda bored.

    AFTER the big reveal, finally. The movie and Leo’s character then became “real” to me and I began to care. Too late. Final act after a bunch of worn cinematic gimmicks couldn’t save the movie for me. Scorcese should stick to gangsta flicks.

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