Shutter Island is most definitely a thriller rather than a horror as there are relatively few scares as we follow Leonardo DiCaprio’s attempts to uncover the secrets of the insane asylum on Shutter Island. Though beautifully shot the film was flawed throughout, from the over ominous score at the start to the frankly disappointing ending.
There were times I couldn’t tell if the slightly disjointed editing and direction were deliberate effects or mere sloppiness but most reviews seem to regard them as purposeful devices, this is a Scorsese film after all and he is to be respected. Scorsese’s career aside the film is clearly well shot but the main weak point is the pacing. This is a film of average length that feels dragged out and overlong with dialogue heavy scenes following one after the other. Most events are described in detail by characters rather than portrayed onscreen which is to be expected from a noirish thriller yet becomes tiresome after some time.
Shutter Island succeeds in creating a general air of unease and DiCaprio carries much of the film admirably as we follow his investigation from start to finish. The supporting cast provide their ambiguous dialogue well but none offer a performance that stands out. It could be that the ending I found so disappointing was in fact a double bluff and I simply missed the subtleties of the script but there is no denying the film crawled along too slowly for me to become fully engrossed.
If you do go and see it make sure you are fully awake or take plenty of caffeine with you.