Shutter Island: B-
It begins as a cerebral noir that reveals itself as a “twist” film early in the second act, making for a real anti-climactic ending. I’d say my interest was peaked after about the first 20 minutes of the film, but Scorsese doesn’t give us enough credit for this one and flaunts all the pieces you need to put the puzzle together way too soon.
Leo is a persnickety fed dispatched to the island, which serves as a massive mental care ward for the criminality insane, to investigate a missing persons case. Things get crazy when all the crazy crazies go crazy and crazily act especially crazy. Fun drinking game: take a shot whenever anyone makes a cryptic statement that is left unanswered by other characters on screen. Double shots for dribbling inmates. You’ll be at the hospital in no time!
The acting is solid and the set designs are impressive. It is hard to get attached to any of the characters, though. The only one you develop a relationship with is Leo and he just does his thinking-owl face and pursues a plot/sub-plot that you’ve already figured out before he can even get to them. Maybe you get creeped out by semi-abandoned insane asylums that have that 19th century feel to them. If so, there are probably two scenes that will give you a cheap shiver. Other than that, there’s nothing to get scared about. Even the mummified/skeletal patient who gives the Shutter Island “shhhh” isn’t scary. She looks like someone who gets drunk off of pink wine and plays bridge with my Grandma.
There’s a quasi-Shyamalanian “twist” at the end that is supposed to be some kind of pay off for sticking around through about 90 minutes of predictability, and it is enough to bump the movie down a grade. All in all, there is a cool atmosphere and some decent talent but The Happening called and wants it’s storytelling back.