Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #92 – Shutter Island (2010)

RELEASED: 12th March 2010

DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese

CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, Ted Levine, John Carroll Lynch, Elias Koteas, Ruby Jerins, Robin Bartlett and Christopher Denham

BUDGET: $80m



In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.


The film opens with U.S Marshals Edward ‘Teddy’ Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule, making their way towards Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient named Rachel Solando. While a massive storm hits the island, preventing them from returning to the mainland for a few days, Teddy and Chuck try to get clues into Solando’s disappearance but get an icy reception from staff and when they’re refused access to the hospital records, Teddy begins to doubt everything around him the longer he stays on the island, his memory, his partner, and his own sanity.


Based on the novel of the same name by Denis Lehane, Martin Scorsese handles this physiological noir with unease with the viewers senses, as we know something is quite not right with Teddy Daniels as the gothic setting he finds himself in on the island triggers his past traumas, from the war to his deceased wife, yet it’s other characters that also trigger feelings of untrustworthy, particularly in regard’s to Dr. John Cawley, lead physiatrist on Shutter Island, who tries to be friendly with the detectives yet you can help but feel there’s a certain menace behind that smile. The case raises a lot of questions and those questions raise even more questions as the film progresses. It feels very Hitchcockian in how the film paces, especially with how Scorsese shoots the terrain as Teddy wonders what mysteries hide in the Lighthouse, the cinematography work from Robert Richardson is gorgeous here. The film works perfectly well on first viewing, though its final act has been well talked about now since its released, and I think it is also effective still on repeated viewing, helped by the performances from its cast, particularly Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead as well as Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley supporting.


FAVOURITE SCENE: The final scene once everything comes to fruition.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Which would be worse…to live as a monster? Or to die as a good man?” – Teddy Daniels

DID YOU KNOW: The title is an anagram of “truths and lies”, and “truths/denials”.

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