To lobotomize or not lobotomize, that is the question.
I saw Shutter Island earlier tonight and I really enjoyed it from start to finish. The movie is set in 1954 on an island outside Boston. The island is home to a mental hospital/prison. Federal Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are sent to investigate the disappearance of an inmate/patient. Sounds like a pretty simple and straightforward storyline but it's anything but that. From the onset you get the feeling that things aren't going to be quite what they seem but you are never really sure about what's a bit off and what's not.
As Daniels and Aule begin to ask questions about the escape, we begin to understand a bit more about the island. It is home to only very violent, criminally insane offenders. There are parts of the facility where no one is allowed alone and what happens in certain parts of the complex is unclear and a bit mysterious. During an inmate interview session while Daniels and Aule are trying to get information on the missing prisoner, a female inmate tries to warn Daniels to get off the island. But he's convinced that there is a bigger situation happening on the island and he has to get the evidence to prove it.
The facility is run by Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) and he has this presence about him where on the one hand you believe everything he is saying but on the other your BS alarm is screaming at you. I really enjoy Kingsley in this movie and in any movie really. He's one of those actors that no matter what he's in you know at the very least he is going to be rock solid.
The movie utilizes a good deal of flashbacks that help build the characters back stories and also provide a bit of foreshadowing. Through flashbacks we see that Daniels fought in World War II and that he is still holding onto the memory of his wife. Daniels is flawed, he has plenty of baggage that he's brought with him to Shutter Island. The flashbacks are great and they are very beautiful in their styling.
The whole feel of the movie, from the opening music to the cinematography, is dark and gloomy. The mind games the movie plays on you are never cheap and the twists in the plot pay off big time. I sat there being sure I had figured out key points in the plot and then quickly having to refigure what I thought I knew. As soon as you think it all makes sense another turn comes along and suddenly you are going the wrong way and it doesn't stop. There are parts that you might think don't fit together when it's all said and done but maybe that's the point. There are so many questions throughout the entire film that maybe we aren't supposed to have all the answers because in some ways the characters never do either.
I do have to say this because I am not a big Leo fan, he was really good. I loved him in What's Eating Gilbert Grape and Basketball Diaries but I've never really cared much for him other than that, especially his inability to stick with an accent for an entire movie. But in this film, he was great.
What are you waiting for? Go see it!