Logic dictates that when a movie slated for release in October is pushed back until February of the next year, the film probably has some major flaws that would pull it out of contention for any major awards. And, for the most part, the producers are conceding that the film isn’t very good and would only be a drowning cow in an ocean of piranhic critics. The lone exception I can think of is Silence of the Lambs, which was a February release, but went on to sweep the Academy Awards.
However, if you attach the name of an acclaimed, competent, and more often than not, genius director, which Martin Scorsese certainly is, and throw in a cast that includes the reliable and often stellar Leonardo DiCaprio and Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley, you swipe your credit card at the ticket kiosk and take the plunge. Perhaps you even buy a ninety-six ounce soda and a medium five pound bag of popcorn anticipating that both will make their way out of your nose or get caught in your throat during a scene from the upcoming “thriller” that you eagerly await.
Unfortunately, about thirty minutes into this one hundred and thirty minute mistake, you’ll realize that the oleo-byproduct covering your popcorn conjures more frightening images and mystery than anything you have seen on screen, and the soda you’ve thirsted for is as flat as the lobotomized storyline that ranks up there with Basic Instinct‘s utterly predictable progression and denouement.
While a group of us walked to theater, two of us jokingly said, “Wouldn’t it be great if Leonardo DiCaprio [insert most clichéd movie twist ever]?” One hundred and seventeen minutes later, the two of us peered at each other from across five seats to shake our heads and guffaw at the utterly silly vapidity before plotting our route to the nearest exit, which wouldn’t present itself for another thirty one minutes that were filled with a flashback, an anagram-based connection, exposition, and a forced open-ending that alludes to the potential lobotomizing of everyone in the film – and the assertion that Nazis, represented by Max Von Sydow, are evil, but somehow we parallel them, so what was that whole WWII skirmish about anyway?!
Most disappointingly, those last thirty-one minutes also rationalize the entire movie by explaining that the last forty eight hours that Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) have endured were merely the most “elaborate role play” that the Shutter Island faculty has orchestrated. Frankly, I’m waiting for Mr. Scorsese to knock on my door with his eyebrows teased out and a grin on his face before handing me an envelope with thirteen crisp one dollar bills, one of which is tagged with a paisley Post-It note with “Last night’s movie was an early April Fool’s prank. The real Shutter Island will be released in six months” scrawled on it.
However highly unlikely this is, interestingly enough, the quandary of how Scorsese obtained my address would be more intriguing than any mystery presented in this movie, particularly whether or not the old woman who whispers “shhhhhh” in the previews is Helena Bonham Carter wearing skull cap. She isn’t.
Note: One shining spot of the film was the seven minute performance by Jackie Earle Haley, who, by the way, will be playing Freddie Kruger in the forthcoming A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot.
DYL MAG Score: 5
Note: After careful consideration — and some threatening emails — I have decided to lower the score to 3.5, primarily because Haley prevents me from loathing everything in the film, but I stand by 5′s assertion that you must never watch this film.
DYLMAG Score: 3.5