Shutter Island (2010) Review


Shutter Island is a 2010 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Laeta Kalogridis, based on Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel of the same name. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Deputy U.S. Marshal Edward "Teddy" Daniels, who is investigating a psychiatric facility on Shutter Island after one of the patients goes missing.


Mark Ruffalo plays his partner and fellow deputy marshal; Ben Kingsley is the facility's lead psychiatrist; Max von Sydow is a German doctor; and Michelle Williams is Daniels's wife. Released on February 19, 2010, the film received mostly positive reviews from critics, was chosen by National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2010, and grossed over $294 million worldwide.


The film is also noteworthy for its soundtrack using classical (Gustav Mahler) and mainly modern classical music by composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki, György Ligeti, John Cage, Ingram Marshall, and Max Richter.


In 1954, U.S. Marshals Edward "Teddy" Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule travel to the Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island in Boston Harbor. They are investigating the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando, incarcerated for drowning her three children.


Their only clue is a cryptic note found hidden in Solando's room: "The law of 4; who is 67?". The two men arrive just before a massive storm, preventing their return to the mainland for a few days.


Teddy and Chuck find the staff confrontational. Lead psychiatrist John Cawley refuses to turn over records, and they learn that Solando's doctor Lester Sheehan left the island on vacation immediately after Solando disappeared. They are told that Ward C, one of three present and the one that is reserved for the most severely disturbed patients, is off limits and the lighthouse has already been searched.


While being interviewed, one patient writes the word "RUN" in Teddy's notepad. Teddy starts to have migraine headaches from the hospital's atmosphere and has waking visions of his experiences as a U.S. Army soldier during the liberation of Dachau including reprisals against the guards.


He has disturbing dreams of his wife, Dolores Chanal, who was killed in a fire set by arsonist Andrew Laeddis. In one instance, she tells Teddy that Solando is still on the island—as is Laeddis, who everyone claims was never there. Teddy later explains to Chuck that locating Laeddis was his ulterior motive for taking the case.

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