Shutter Island


With Martin Scorsese as director and Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead actor, what could go wrong with (or on) Shutter Island? The film purportedly takes place in 1954 on Peddocks Island off Boston harbor, which is the federal penitentiary housing the most dangerous criminally insane prisoners in the United States (though filming locations include other venues). When the film begins, Teddy Daniels (played by DiCaprio) is accompanied by Chuck Aule (played by Mark Ruffalo) in the role as federal marshals, assigned to locate a missing prisoner. Daniels, as the film proceeds, is haunted by the memory of the liberation of Dachau when he was an American soldier. He is also haunted by the death of his wife and by various victimized children. Daniels and Aule meet the top administrator of the island prison, Dr. Cawley (played by Ben Kingsley), and another top psychiatrist, Dr. Naehring (played by Max Von Sydow). Dr. Cawley explains that he prefers using drug therapy and talk therapy to lobotomy. Dr. Naehring immediately begins to psychoanalyze Daniels, using the term Freudian “defense mechanism.” The music and stark buildings give a clue that Shutter Island is to be a noir film, but those who have read the 2003 novel by Dennis Lehane on which the movie is based, already know that. Enough said. Any further comment would involve spoilers that would destroy the suspense, which uncannily resembles such 1940s films as Laura.  MH

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