Scorsese. What do you think of when you think Martin Scorsese? You think of class, you think of brilliance, you think of the living legend that he is. Any film maker, critique, or actor that you should give a damn about can name off a few of his films and truthfully cite them as some of their favourites, and films that deserve mention as some of the best ever made. Scorsese’s films are cemented in movie-making lore as some of the greatest pieces put to film. Of those I’ve seen, my favourites have to be “Raging Bull”, “Gangs of New York”, and “Casino”. Although he hadn’t been in the mainstream industry for a while up till recently, his recent films show that he hasn’t dropped a beat from his early career.
After Scorsese gave us, to critical and box-office acclaim, his Best Director winning film “The Departed” a few years ago comes Scorsese’s next endeavour. Before that was one of my favourite films, “Gangs of New York”. This past year, Martin Scorsese teamed up with his muse Leonardo DiCaprio once again to bring us the film adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name. In my opinion, a film’s quality is almost on par with “The Departed”.
“Shutter Island” is filmed in Maine and Massachusetts, and the island used was Peddocks Island which also houses an old military fort which now is in ruins, a mystical place. The story is about “a hospital for the criminally insane”. Leo stars as Teddy Daniels, a US Marshall tasked with investigating the disappearance of a patient/inmate from one of the cells in the penitentiary. Upon arriving on the Island, Teddy, along with Chuck Aule, his partner who is played by Mark Ruffalo meet the staff of the island, whose chief head of staff Dr. Cawley played by Ben Kingsley takes them through the island to conduct their inquiry.
I am going to admit, that after seeing the trailer, I thought I had figured the entire movie out. So, after reading this, don’t go straight to Apple Trailers or Youtube to watch it, because you might leave the film with a slightly bitter taste in your mouth. But, after seeing the first 15 minutes of the film, I can honestly admit, the trailer presents the film as something it is not. This film is not a horror film as the trailer shows it. The movie is rather thriller suspense. Take that for what it means to you, but you can tell if you compare some of the scenes from the trailer to the scenes in context. Music changes everything, I kind of laughed to myself when I thought about the trailer while watching this one.
One thing that I will reveal about the film though is the style. Scorsese deals with gangster films. His portfolio has demonstrated this time and again, and each new film he adds to the list has shown that he excels in the genre. This is his take on something else. I think he explores the genre of film noir through this project. Set in the 1950s, Scorsese films the scenes in a vintage 50s-60s style of camera work. He includes quick smooth pans between characters rather than take cuts. Scorsese pays homage to older films through his use of backdrops and vintage use of visual effects. It isn’t your ordinary modern day crime drama, and it isn’t supposed to be.
I think the movie is a great watch for people who want to travel back into time to see what true thriller films are like. There is little to no action and gore, rather focusing on the cerebral aspect to the plot. You really don’t know what is happening in the story, until the end, and even then, you don’t really know. You might guess the twist in the beginning, but in the end, you don’t really know if you were right. Scorsese has the ability to tell a story without explicitly stating what the story was about. It is very similar to a David Fincher film in that sense. He was actually first approached to make the film, alongside Brad Pitt and Mark Walberg, which although might have been a very different film, might not have been all bad. Fincher is the one who brought us Fight Club and Seven, some really great psychological thrillers.
It will be interesting what Scorsese will bring us next. According to IMDB, my all time more favourite site in
the world, his next project due to release this year will be a George Harrison documentary film. That is in post production as we speak. After that, he teams up again with Kingsley for “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” a story of an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station in 1930 Paris. That will definitely be interesting considering rumours of it being
shot in 3D. After that, what was next was “Sinatra” whose premise is fairly self-explanatory, however that has been shelved because he is having trouble identifying a scope for the very massive character Sinatra was. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next, as well as further exploring what he’s already, made. I’ve heard one of his greatest films was a documentary he made about his parents and living as an Italian American in New York, one of
his earliest directorial pieces “Italianamerican”. That should be interesting to get my hands on.
For a crime drama, it is a strangely abstract experiencing, but you shouldn’t give up on it as with other movies (cough cough “The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus”). It’s a film that you should watch, because if you don’t like older films, if you don’t like cerebral films, after watching this film, you might learn something about yourself. At the very least, it’s a good watch, purely for solid acting, musical score, and an intense story.
Thank you for reading; the word count is officially 1000.