I went to see Shutter Island yesterday. It is not, as I'd been led to believe, a horror movie, but a psychological thriller, with a plot that requires the viewer to try to believe ‘six impossible things before breakfast’, as the White Queen said. Although some scenes have a slight look of The Others, a comparison with that film does Shutter Island no favours at all. In addition, the use of Dachau to add a bit of narrative interest is morally pretty questionable – or so it seems to me.
In the credits at the end, I was intrigued to see that the film’s highly intrusive big orchestral score was presided over by Robbie Robertson – I assume that’s the Robbie Robertson who so many young women fell in love with when they first saw him in The Last Waltz (also by Scorsese – presumably that’s how they met) and then recoiled from five years later when they saw the film for a second time on telly and realised he was a pretentious git, (and, yes, I could be speaking from direct experience here.)
In its favour, the opening twenty minutes of Shutter Island are really very beautiful and, as always, Leonardo di Caprio gives a terrific performance throughout. He is an exceptional actor, I think - and he seems to have aged rather less than some amongst us (and yes, again, I do mean me.) The film is quite an entertaining thriller, with an excellent central performance and some visually gorgeous moments. If you have nothing better to do and nothing else to look at, it’s not a total waste of time.