I have to hand it to Martin Scorsese: he knows his craft, and he knows it well.

I say this because, even though Shutter Island isn’t the best thing it’s made, it’s still pretty damn good.  The story is one of those mystery suspense thrillers, in which the lead character, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) investigates the disappearance of one of the island’s patients.  He also can’t get the images of his murdered wife out of his dreams, which drives him to find the missing patient and to find another one of the island’s patient who is apparently behind the murder.  And, everything on the island itself isn’t what it seems: the head doctor, the administrators, the orderlies, everyone knows something that Daniels doesn’t.

I’ll stop that there, because there is a few twists along the way (including the final big reveal) that I won’t divulge.  I will say that, save for the final reveal (mainly because that one’s a shock), the revelations come subtly.  I had some feeling as to what the twist was going into the movie, but I guessed incorrectly.  Everything was there too.  If it wasn’t, I’d blame it on poor film making.  But this is Scorsese, and he handles his craft well.  He takes his players, set them all up, and when it comes time to figuring everything out, he eases it all in there.  He’s in no rush to tell his story (the total run time is 138 minutes, which is slightly shorter than some of his grander films).

The music is excellent throughout as well.  The opening notes over the title card suggest something large and ominous occurring, and doesn’t let up at all.  It’s handled even better with the reveals, simply because it doesn’t dominate the sound.  It’s the characters that show everything that’s going on, and with a cast that includes DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Williams, you know it’ll be done well.

Which is what this movie ends up being overall, a well done dinner.  Paramount stated that the reason it was delayed was because of financial reasons: they didn’t have the money to promote it during the awards season.  Personally, I’m not sure I see this movie winning much of anything, but it’s still pretty damn good.  An excellently structured, well acted, and well shot film.  What more can you ask for?

A-

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