Saturday, 13 March 2010

Musings on Shutter Island

I watch a lot of movies. It helps when I have connections at the movie theater. I watched Shutter Island soon after it came out and really just put it to the back of my mind. I was so excited to see it. It looked so dark and twisted, as a psychological thriller should. Then I saw it. It took me a long while to actually decide what I thought about it, but here it is.

Shutter Island, Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Marshal Teddy Daniels.

Lets start with the acting. It wasn't bad at all, some the best acting was done by the smaller roles; Michelle Williams (Daniel's wife), Robin Bartlett (mental patient Kearns), and Jackie Earl Haley (mental patient Noyce). DiCaprio was average, far from his best performance by any means, but he didn't disappoint. The only down side was that William's character was bought out mainly in dream sequences, and I found these to be visually displeasing. They were over done with too much foreshadowing littered throughout them. I am usually a big fan a dream sequences and flashbacks, but these were just so... distracting.

I've never read the book, but think I really want to after seeing the movie. Seems like it would be an amazing read, I just don't think it has made the transition to film very well. Don't get me wrong, I like Scorsese as a director, but he just didn't deliver the "wow" factor this time. It looked great, featured some awesome cinematography, but what killed it for me was the musical score. Half the time there was no music, while in the other half there was one sound clip blared as loud as possible to create a "mood", the only mood it created was one of agitation on my part. Music and sounds are supposed to discreetly add to a movie, not distract you from it. I was looking around for the volume button the whole time. Once again, I watched it twice to make sure I got everything right and wasn't missing something, and both times I wanted to shoot the musical conductor. It was almost like they were attempting to run with a Hitchcock feel, but tripped and fell on the way.

If you've heard anything about the movie you will know there is a twist in the end. Sadly by a twist in the end they mean, "that plot 'twist' we've alluded to the entire movie". The movie's saving grace was all the random meaningful conversations between characters that seemed out of place, but actually played a pivotal part in the end. My favorite part was one of the very last lines of the movie, "Which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?" this poses a good question to all of us. If you had a choice, to live or die, but the catch was if you chose life, you'd be known as a monster, or if you chose death you'd be known as a good person, which would you choose? It leaves you thinking, just not about the movie itself.

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