(Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow, et al / R / 2 hrs 18 mins / Universal)
Overview: Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio team up as a pair of U.S. Marshals who travel to a secluded island off the coast of Massachusetts to search for an escaped mental patient, uncovering a web of deception along the way as they battle the forces of nature and a prison riot in this Martin Scorsese-helmed period picture.
Verdict: Scorsese is a master of his craft, but Shutter Island, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, feels disappointingly like a minor work. But hey, who says every film has to be a masterpiece? Uber film nerd Scorsese seems to be having a blast with this genre exercise, a thrilling blend of noir and psychological horror that comes infused with more references and homages than most audiences will probably notice. And in Scorsese’s trademark fashion, it’s fantastically stylized, chock full of breathtaking visual flourishes and thematic clues that come together like the pieces of a puzzle once everything in its twisted plot is revealed.
But despite its pretty pieces and the plethora of subjects that loosely tie into Teddy Daniels’ storyline (i.e. World War II, the Holocaust, post-traumatic stress disorder, paranoia, guilt, mid-century psychological practices, and what Michelle Williams would look like if she was on Mad Men), none of this feels particularly important. Unless you’re also an uber-nerd for any of the above themes in 'Shutter Island' (or a student of cinema), its story may not linger long after the final twist has befuddled your brain.