Shutter Island (2010)
Shutter Island is a complex and scheming psychological thriller from Martin Scorsese, who directs with a strong desire to create an atmosphere and a level of suspense of Hitchcockesque proportions. The premise is promising and the film starts off well, with DiCaprio and Ruffalo arriving at a hospital for criminally insane on Shutter Island where they are to investigate the disappearance of a patient. However, we don't need to wait for suspicious events in order to know that everything is not right at this institution, because Scorsese shouts it in every which way he can: through the overdramatized musical score, quaint dialogue, and almost exclusively ominous characters. This is fascinating, but also discouraging, because you may find it all overdone, resulting in a somewhat distanced viewing.
This is most definitely not Scorsese's intention, he wants you to feel the paranoia and ambiguity. And for periods of time, you will, often thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio's industrious lead performance. He does his best to drive the story forward, even when it stagnates and seems to repeat itself during the middle part of the film. The rest of the cast does fairly well with what limited material they have, although with such a quality ensemble, you'd expect more.
Our protagonist, Teddy, really puts in an effort, shedding blood, sweat and tears battling almost every other character in the film, plus the plot, it seems, in order to earn a place in that lighthouse for a conclusion. And although the conclusion is justifiable from a strictly logical point of view, it doesn't spark the emotional release it could have, probably because it's hard not to feel a little cheated, both from our own point of view and from Teddy's. Shutter Island tells the type of story which labours to confuse and impress at the same time, a balance which is difficult to maintain without insulting the viewer. Shutter Island manages this only partially.