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Movie Review: Shutter Island

Alternate Title: Ho Hum Island

Story: Disappointment abounds in this latest so called thriller by director Martin Scorsese. We expected to be frightened and thought we would be hiding under our coats form fear but it turns out we were under our coats because the movie theater was freezing. The film was written by Laeta Kalogridis and was based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River).

The plot is simple. It is 1954 and we meet Federal Marshall Teddy Daniels emerging from the fog on a ferry bound for Shutter Island that houses the criminally insane. A female patient has gone missing and the authorities are brought in to investigate. The premise had all the makings of a psychological thriller, so what went wrong? Essentially the film had an overload of atmosphere including clanging cell bars, screams in the night, a hurricane, dripping pipes and very scary looking inmates. My main complaint is that the film had no emotional core. I simply did not care about any of the characters and by the time the overly long film ended I did not care what happened to any of them either.

There were also too many characters and extraneous plots that abruptly end. Old red herrings included flashbacks about Nazi death camps, psychotropic drugs, an overload of paranoia and conspiracy theories. You could say everything was thrown in but the kitchen sink.

I forgive Mr. Scorsese for this indulgence and look forward to his next film. The best thing about the movie was my movie buddy, Sunjit, made us delicious egg salad sandwiches on fresh bagels. Yummy.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYVrHkYoY80

Acting: Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels gives it his all. I admire his dedication but sorry, Leo, this film just did not work. Mark Ruffalo as partner Chuck Aule, was zombie like. Ben Kingsley as Dr. Cawley chewed up some scenes. Michelle Williams as Dolores was creepy. Emily Mortimer as Rachel Solando played nutty just fine. Patricia Clarkson as Rachel Solando was almost unrecognizable and can never give a bad performance. Jackie Earle Haley as inmate George Noyce does the insane role to a tee. Max von Sydow as creepy Dr. Naehring was fine in a role he has played before.

Trivia: Mark Ruffalo, in an interview with Moviemaker magazine, claims to have made 800 auditions in his lifetime before making it big. When Leonardo DiCaprio was five years old, he was in an educational TV program, called "Romper Room" and was nearly kicked off for uncontrollable behavior. At age 10, his agent advised him to change his name to a more American- friendly Lenny Williams. Needless to say, he did not follow that advice. He was offered the role of the porn star Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights (1997) at around the same time as he was offered his role in Titanic (1997). The Dirk Diggler role eventually went to Mark Wahlberg.

Predilection: I (generally) like Martin Scorsese films.

Critters: A gratuitous short scene with rats.

Food: I do not recall any food. Lots of booze and cigarettes.

Sex Spectrum: None

Soundtrack: Overly loud and foreboding.

Opening Titles: All titles are at the end of the film.

Visual Art: Director of photography, Robert Richardson did an admirable job of setting up an atmosphere. The film was visually pleasing.

Theater Audience: Two other people and us.

Weather: Very cold and rainy.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: It should have had a high squirm factor but it was not squirmy at all.

Drift Factor: I started looking at my watch after 90 minutes.

Predictability Level: The ending has some twists.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Two hour and 18 minutes. Way too long.