Friday, March 5, 2010

A Needed Winter Triple Feature: Second, Shutter Island

Oh, Martin Scorsese. How my heart is torn.

After seeing "The Crazies" the other night, I steeled myself and looked suspiciously around at my fellow movie compatriots and wondered what airborne infectious disease I was going to catch if I ventured back into the theaters to see "Shutter Island."

I figured, "Go hard, or go home," and at 10:40pm, I certainly wasn't going home without a fight.

So, off I went. "Shutter Island" it was.

(I should give a disclaimer that I was one of those 14-year-old girls who saw "Titanic" in theaters 9 times back in the day, so DiCaprio has always been sort of a pet-idol of mine, not like Paul, but still, even when his career was waning. And, per Scorsese, I'm also a sucker for pretty much all he does, minus the "Cape Fear" remake of '91.)

Enough disclaimers.

"Shutter Island"

The assumed premise is easy: Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are two U.S. Marshals sent to an island holding the criminally insane to investigate the disappearance of a very dangerous and disturbed lady.

Once on the sequestered sands of old Shutter Island (near Boston), Dr. Crawley (Ben Kingsley, awesome) begins to put weird obstacles in front of Teddy and Chuck's investigation.

Oh, you want to access patient files? Hmm, I don't think that's allowed. At the Marshals' protest, Crawley and cohorts invoke obsolete chapter rules of some handbook that gives them seniority over even the most top officials' queries.

Teddy (DiCaprio) is given some pills; we have some hallucinations of his dead wife (Michelle Williams), some head-spinnery, and the appearance of George Noyce (Jackie Earle Haley, who I hadn't seen since "Little Children"), the man that DiCaprio has a seemingly-rightful vendetta against.

Of course, there's the mysterious and creepy Dr. Naehring (Max von Sydow), who is the man in the trailer who asks DiCaprio: "Going somewhere?" Yikes.

So as not to spoil it, just know that you get distracted by the staginess of the movie -- which is clearly an intentional Scorsese move. The allusions to the old noir-ish days of long takes and very-conscious camera glances are palpable; but, for me, they worked so well.

You get Hitchcock, "The Shining," and an awesome mystery that makes you remember the days of "Clue" all in one. I know I'm the movie geek, but ... even just writing that sends shivers down my spine.

And, by the end, I had the same feelings I had from "A Beautiful Mind" and "Vanilla Sky." As I walked out of the theater chucking my popcorn in the trash and sighing, it was the first time in a long while that strangers asked me if I knew what the true ending was.

That made me smile.

Thumbs up!

And, for sh*ts, "Clue":

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