March 10, 2010

Shudder Island........

The plot: two federal marshals go to Shutter Island, off Boston, to investigate the escape of a female prisoner. Shutter Island is an asylum for mentally challenged criminals. Or rather, seriously insane criminals.

The set reminds one of the asylum in the Batman with Arnold Schwarzenegger, where he played Dr. Freeze. So somewhat exaggerated and over the top. Cartoonish. Especially with the overpowering obnoxiousness of the soundtrack. All but screams impending doom. Surprise: all is not what it should be. As the story unravels, so does our hero, Ted something aka Leonardo di Caprio. (I just remember murmurings of the repeated release delay of this film. Now I know why)

Its not a typical Scorcese........well, except for the length. 2 hours and 15 minutes. Although, honestly, seemed like 4 hours to me. I can safely admit to an attention capture for the first 2/3's, but after that, my patience escaped. It dragged on and left a trail like a big dead wet fish.

I don't quite get the movie. The whole point of the movie. I can't explain without giving anything away. But it was just boring. The cranked up level of apocalyptic guilt and foreshadowing doom played out into a disappointing generic piece of dull.

Scorcese is certainly a competent director, leads his actors through the treacherous path. Skilled camera work, decent production design. All the elements of competent filmmakers. As my friend Sandy said: was still better than Avatar. Yes, indeed it was. At least there's something to get upset about. But I did not understand the point of the film.

Am I just jaded? spoiled? seen too much? There was no satisfaction watching Di Caprio or Ruffolo or Van Sydow or Ben Kingsley. At times it was like a caricature. I mean, I couldn't help thinking the actors had a hard time keeping it together ie not bursting into laughter during the takes. Forced seriousness tends to do that to you.

Its just I am sick of seeing a furrow-browed Di Caprio, spilling his entire range of emotions like a brain splattering all over the place. Enough already.

Was this a joke at our expense? If so, it backfired. Unwittingly funny at times. One watched with a sense of detachment. Just waiting for it to end. One couldn't connect with the main character. And thats the essence of a good movie. Some sort of emotional connection. For me, there was none. Not with any of them. I felt as remote and isolated as the island itself. Alcatraz on the East Coast. And what was up with the Boston accent.......again? A carry over from The Departed...here it just came across as intellectual dishonesty.

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