Michele and I saw this in the theaters when it came out, and I just re-watched it the other night. Both times, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t think it would hold up to a second viewing, so I’m not even sure why I tried that hypthesis out, boredom I guess.
The first, and probably the best, thing this movie has going for it is atmosphere. Between the scenery and almost overbearing score, it oozes a subtle tension. It is not overwhelming, just enough to keep your eyes peeled open, and your butt glued to the seat. The second, and close tie, is the story, acting and dialog. It is all very good, and I really like the era this takes place in; post-WWII, were everyone calls each other ‘boss’ or ‘chief’, smokes unfiltered lucky strikes, and resolved most conflicts with “fisticuffs”.
The main premise is two US Marshals are sent to a isolated metal institution for the criminally insane because one of the patients went missing. The movie quickly moves to the conclusion that there is more to this case, since it was physically impossible to the patient to ‘escape’. So, the likely conclusion is someone must be covering something up… or so it would seam.
Now, both of Marshals are in a quandary. They have their perception of the evidence that is presented, which includes other inmates and the staff also says, as well as the administrations reluctance to provide any real help.
To top if off, the missing patient suddenly re-appears. She is totally unscathed, and cannot recall where she has been the last few days.
After all of that, Teddy Daniels reveals his own personal reasons for coming to Shutter Island, and he intends to “blow the lid off of the place”. Not all is what it seems, but you’ll just have to watch it. Maybe twice, it is certainly worth it.