Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Michelle Williams and Mark Ruffalo.
Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow.
Based on a New York Times Bestseller.
Big names, big budget, catchy concept.
Does Shutter Island pan out?
The puzzle that U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) pieces together shifts between definitions, his motivations revealed layer after layer. It'd be cliche to remark on Daniels' psychological developments during his stay at the mental hospital but as the subplots continue to intertwine, the film results as a character study more than anything else. Set within a mystery plot, the film's dream sequences and flashbacks are multifaceted. Primarily serving as character development, these scenes also contain clues. Like any strong mystery, clues are everywhere but in Shutter Island they might as well be nowhere as the story's involution is heightened by the protaonist's involution. In other words, this is not Sherlock Holmes. Daniel's inner-conflicts weave within the mystery of the missing murderess (Mortimer) in a particular way that convolutes the entire detective work process. The upside to this weaving is that the story is strengthened instead of muddled.