#240 Shutter Island (2010)


138 Minutes

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Laeta Kalogridis, Dennis Lehane

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kinglsey, Max Von Sydow

Storyline: “A U.S Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.” IMDB


American Girl:

I saw this movie when it originally came out in 2010.  I clearly remember the surprise ending, and feeling very disturbed, beyond that I cannot recall the specific details.   I never had an inclination to watch this movie again, not because it was bad, just because it always stuck with me and I didn’t care to watch it again.  However, now that five years have passed I am looking forward to watching it with Brit Boy especially considering he has never seen it before.

Brit Boy:

Having just watched Monsters, Inc. the night before, I was excited to start utilizing the momentum our last post had created. Interestingly enough American Girl insisted that this may give me nightmares based upon the disturbing storyline which would unfold, this added a certain amount of trepidation and excitement to our movie night, bring it on American Girl…… 🙂

Set the Scene

After finishing Monsters, Inc. Brit Boy and I felt quite on a roll to continue our IMDB movie adventure. One late Saturday night after all the kids were tucked into bed we snuggled up on the couch with some beers to watch Shutter Island. With all the lights turned off, and almost in pitch-blackness we began the psychological thriller. No 3D this time, thank goodness.

Final Cut

After American Girl’s insistence that I would have nightmares after seeing this film I was very intrigued as to what to expect. This was the first film on our list to be directed by Martin Scorsese, and I am sure definitely not the last. As you can imagine the cinematography was great, just the right amount of dark peril and tension with the weather adding greatly to the film’s brooding ambience.

Knowing nothing about the film prior to watching this (something I feel added greatly to my enjoyment, and which where possible I would like to continue doing for this blog), I was incredibly surprised to see Mark Ruffalo’s appearance within the first minutes of the opening titles.


The first of many accomplished and awarded actors and actresses to appear courtesy of Mr. Scorsese. Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams and the sublime Max Von Sydow completing the supporting cast. American Girl I think its worth mentioning here that Max Von Sydow has a large part to play in my formative years being the archetypal baddie in one of my favorite movies Flash Gordon. Max played Ming the Merciless to Sam J Jones’ Flash, its interesting to note that he has gone on to have an incredibly varied career whereby Sam J Jones has done nothing apart from a couple of bit parts in some 80’s tv shows.

Brit Boy I can’t believe you haven’t even mentioned Leonardo DiCaprio!  Maybe it is because of my love for Titanic, but I think he is a great actor.  This role is so different from that of Jack Dawson, or even that of Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can.   This movie solidifies DiCaprio as one of the great actors of his time.  He definitely can play a wide variety of characters, and believable at that!

Ok American Girl I was getting to that……..

I must say I didn’t have a great deal of time for DiCaprio until now, I think this was his second stand out performance in a film in recent times, I agree that Catch Me If You Can is probably his finest hour. It has got me to wondering why I have such a downer on my buddy Leonardo…. I may have to google his filmography to ascertain where it started I have a feeling it was Titanic but let’s see….. Yeah it was Titanic, I think I just got tired of the estrogen fueled opinions on the film when it was released and he unfairly took my ire. After all a guy has to start somewhere…. Well Mr. DiCaprio sir I am now begging your forgiveness you are in fact a very talented actor and Shutter Island really showed your full range. It’s sad really that the movie nor the acting got any substantial critical acclaim with it only having average reviews, I guess this begs the question did I enjoy it more because I didn’t know what to expect?

Scorsese does a brilliant job of casting, lighting, music, and plot to keep you on the edge of your seat and continually guessing as to what will happen.  The ending to me was a definite surprise the first time I watched it and probably what left me in a bit of a state of shock.  I think I actually got more out of it watching it this second time around, because I was relaxed in knowing what would happen and able to pick up on a lot more of the nuances.

I think the movie crosses the golden rule of films, which is you can never hurt children, and you can never hurt animals.  This movie runs over that boundary and gives you a definite uncomfortable feeling which in my opinion has caused it to be less of a hit.  However, it definitely wins some points in the psychological thriller category.  Nothing “scary” ever really happens but the movie does a brilliant job of keeping you in a creepy state, constantly eluding to a darker underlying story line. 

The fact that this all happens on an incredibly desolate location with no means of escape, in a horrendous thunder storm certainly adds to the mood and tension in the film. When coupled with the numerous twists and turns the film takes I think sets it apart from most of the films in its genre, however this may be because it never really commits to being a horror movie, psychological thriller, film noir or crime drama. I think Scorsese filmed this with Hitchcock in mind and it will be rather interesting to see how this compares to Hitchcock at his best.

While the movie was enjoyable, I must say I am not entirely sure why it has made the list.  My guess is that it has since dropped from the top 250 list in entirety, but maybe Brit Boy can confirm.  While it wasn’t a horrible movie by any stretch we are talking about the best 250 films EVER made (according to IMDB viewers) and this just doesn’t seem like it should make the cut.  I would still recommend it if you are looking for a good thriller that keeps you guessing, but I doubt this movie even won any sort of award.

Well American Girl here is the shocker… Shutter Island has not only remained on the list since we took our snapshot but has in fact moved considerably up the list, actually 40 places….

With that bombshell might I add that I did enjoy this movie and would definitely watch it again at some point in the future, most importantly though it took a valuable spot away from Monsters, Inc. which I don’t think it was deserving of. I’m thoroughly enjoying this list and cannot wait to see what it has in store for us as we continue our journey.

Footnote – Six Degrees of Sir Richard Attenborough

Martin Scorsese teamed up with Sir Richard Attenborough to produce the Rolls Royce drama ‘Silver Ghost’.

This entry was posted in IMDB Top 250, IMDB Top 250 Movie Review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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