Shutter Island

March 25, 2010 - You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave the ominous island at the heart of this film from director Martin Scorsese. Leonardo DiCaprio heads a recognizable cast that also includes Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams and Patricia Clarkson. Author Dennis Lehane helped write the script for this big screen adaptation of his novel.

DiCaprio plays a US Marshal named Teddy Daniels. Ruffalo is his partner, Chuck. The year is 1954 and Teddy and Chuck are on a ferry headed for Shutter Island. The place in Boston Harbor is home to a facility for the criminally insane. Teddy tells Chuck that one of the patients has gone missing and it's their job to find out what happened.

Once on the island, they're taken to meet Dr. Cawley (Kingsley), the head psychiatrist. He promises to help in whatever way he can, but Teddy suspects that Dr. Cawley may have a hidden agenda. As Teddy tries to get to the truth about what really goes on at Shutter Island, he's haunted by memories of what he saw during World War II and by visions of his dead wife. He also has to deal with some really nasty weather.

Overall review: *** A tad on the long side, but just when you feel the film is getting boring, there's a twist that sparks renewed interest. DiCaprio capably carries the film, Ruffalo is low-key and unobtrusive, and Kingsley is suitably evasive. In the end, all the questions get answered. My one criticism is that I didn't really feel emotionally invested in Teddy. While emotions end up being at the heart of the character, the film itself works on more of an intellectual level, which keeps it from being great instead of just good.