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Shutter Island (15)

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Review byMatthew Turner10/03/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 138 mins

Brilliantly directed, superbly written and featuring a terrific performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, this is a thoroughly gripping thriller that packs a powerfully emotional punch.

What's it all about?
Directed by Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island is based on the novel by Dennis Lehane and set in 1954. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as US Marshal Teddy Daniels, who heads to the remote Shutter Island hospital for the criminally insane with his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), in order to investigate the case of missing patient Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer), who murdered her own children.

With head doctor Cawley (Ben Kingsley) behaving suspiciously and his sinister associate (Max Von Sydow) apparently unconcerned by the disappearance, it isn't long before Daniels starts to suspect a cover-up. Meanwhile, Daniels struggles with the traumatic events of his own past, including the death of his wife (Michelle Williams) and his experiences at Dachau at the end of the war.

The Good
This is DiCaprio's fourth collaboration with Martin Scorsese and he delivers a terrific performance as Daniels, struggling to keep it together as he strives for the truth. Kingsley and Ruffalo are equally good as Cawley and Aule and there's reliably excellent support from Max von Sydow as well as a series of perfectly cast smaller turns from the likes of Michelle Williams, Ted Levine (as the sinister warden), Jackie Earle Haley (as a patient with a connection to Teddy's past) and Patricia Clarkson as a mysterious woman who may or may not hold the clue to unravelling the mystery.

Scorsese builds an extremely effective atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia throughout, while also throwing in enjoyable references to films such as Vertigo and Shock Corridor. The film is also beautifully shot with gorgeous production design and impeccable effects work, including what are possibly the most thrilling storm sequences ever committed to celluloid (special credit must go to Scorsese's team of wind-machine wranglers).

The Great
In addition, the script is excellent, teasing out the details of the mystery and climaxing with an emotionally devastating ending that works brilliantly. There's also a terrific soundtrack by Robbie Robertson and fabulous costume work (fans of hats in films are in for a treat) from Sandy Powell.

Worth seeing?
In short, Shutter Island is a brilliantly directed, genuinely gripping and powerfully emotional thriller with a terrific central performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. Highly recommended.

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Shutter Island (15)
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