Friday, July 30, 2010

Movie Review: Shutter Island

Before I start of this little mess of messiness, I want to apologize for the unfortunate lack of posts this week. It's been a pretty crazy time at the home of The Face Guy, and writing reviews of movies - be they good or bad - have gone onto the back burner a bit. But I am back now, and ready to write my heart out!

Seriously, this will probably happen.

I've been reviewing a lot of the more recently released movies lately, trying to be current and edgy to all of those teenage kids with their Hip Hop and Rock & Roll. However, the blockbuster season seems to be dying down a bit and the movies that are coming out are becoming less and less appealing... which is saying a lot, since I went out to see Eclipse and Sorcerer's Apprentice.

However, the time is coming around where a lot of DVDs are being released en masse like an army of genetically altered super soldiers. Most of these DVDs are movies that came out early in the year - movies that I therefore missed due to my not reviewing movies at the time. Therefore, for the next couple of weeks or so, I'm going to be reviewing movies from earlier this year that are now coming out on DVD. The first of these films is Martin Scorsese's so-called suspense thriller Shutter Island.

Now, I don't know if I got this across all that well in my review of Inception, but I really like Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor. I've enjoyed just about every single performance that he's ever given - I loved him in Inception, he was spectacular in What's eating Gilbert Grape, and even though I didn't like Titanic that much I still enjoyed his performance. He's a very good actor, and does not deserve to be mistreated by being put into bad movies... you know, like what people keep doing to Liam Neeson.
Is it just me, or does his expression say "Please kill me now"?

While I'm told that the book Shutter Island was based on was relatively decent, the movie interpretation was... not. I felt like I should be embarrassed for DiCaprio as I watched this movie, the same way you want to look away when someone who cannot sing has been pressured to getting up at the karaoke bar. I honestly felt bad for the guy as I went through this film. He was clearly trying, but given the writing it was a seriously uphill battle.

The movie follows the story of Teddy Daniels, a U.S. Marshal who has been tasked to investigate the disappearance of a patient at Ashecliff, a Mental Institution for the criminally insane that is definitely not based on Alcatraz. It is also apparently the place where they keep all of the movie composers who cannot tone down the mood of their music from "overwhelmingly dramatic and imposing". From the very beginning, Shutter Island bombards us with some of the most inappropriately overdramatic music that I have ever heard from a film. It's like if someone played the Imperial March during a scene where two people are playing chess.

"Knight to B-6."
"No, Luke... I AM your father!"

After going down the long walkway of composers who need to be shot, he meets with the head of the institution, Dr. John Cawley, who is played by...
Ben Kingsly, NO! What did they do to Ghandi???

Yep, yet another actor whose talents are wasted in this painfully over the top film.

So anyway, during Daniels' investigation of the disappearance of the patient, he slowly becomes convinced that there is something horribly wrong with this institution, because of a history that he has with one of the supposed patients. There's this big conspiracy theory about how patients keep disappearing without a trace, along with some vague suspicion that there might be something going on involving human experimentation. Over the course of the movie, Daniels becomes more and more convinced that Cawley is evil, and that the institution needs to be brought down.

To give away more would be spoiling it too much, which is something that I don't want to do that often (no matter what my review of Sorcerer's Apprentice might convey). Suffice to say that at the end of the movie, there is a big twist because, after all, it's a Scorsese movie.

Here's the problem, though. Both the people I was watching the movie with and Isaw the "twist" coming. In fact, we had seen it coming since the first five minutes of the film. I challenge you to watch the movie and see if you can beat our time. It's really not that hard. See, real psychological thrillers are supposed to gradually give tiny, almost invisible clues about what's really going on in the movie - stuff that's there, but that you wouldn't notice unless you watched the movie a second time. Shutter Island, however, takes a radically different approach that goes as follows:
That's not the way you're supposed to do it, guys.

This movie is crap. I know that it got really good reviews and was liked by a lot of people, but by God I am NOT one of them. The plot is ridiculously predictable, the characters only barely two dimensional, the writing is bad, and the music... I still have nightmares about the music. It's theoretically possible that you might like this movie, so I'm not going to go so far as to tell you to avoid it... but if you think more than your average tulip, you'll see this movie the same way I did.

Final Grade: C-

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