Shutter Island - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shutter Island Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 25, 2010
Solid film. Once they start questioning things it pretty much is clear that is the way they are going to go. Overall solid acting from Dicaprio, Kingsley and Ruffalo.
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2010
Scorsese's masterpiece in psychological horror is an intriguing and immensely unsettling film whose escalating claustrophobic tension is built from an intelligent, suspenseful mystery that bears many welcome resemblances to the greatest works of Kubrick, Polanski and Lynch.
Super Reviewer
½ October 19, 2009
An admirable film from the legendary Martin Scorsese about a troubled detective (Leonardo DiCaprio) who takes on a case at a psych ward on a remote island, before he starts to lose his grip on his sanity and what reality is anymore. This is a consistently interesting, thought-provoking, and ultimately soul-crushing movie that, while slowly paced, remains interesting throughout. It is no where near perfect or one of Scorsese's best films, but it is still a good one that deserves to be seen mainly because of DiCaprio's performance.
Super Reviewer
April 17, 2014
A thrilling and eerie film that consists of a solid and grand twist. Shutter Island is a Martin Scorsese attempt in the realm of suspense and thrillers that seems to pay off in an obscure way. The strength-filled cast and vintage direction ultimately helps this picture from the minor faults it possessed. 4/5
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2007
This is a great psychological thriller. Leo and his partner are US marshals who arrive on Shutter Island to find a missing mental health patient. They find the staff unwilling to help and with lots of things to hide. Leo's character suffers migraines and flashbacks to his painful past of fighting in WWII, in the concentration camps and the loss of his wife in a fire. His own state of mind is in tormoil. It has scary characters and is retentless in activity. You feel your mind racing. It is like a dark hitchcock movie. If you like Sixth Sense, you will like this movie. Great cast. As always Leo really gets into his characters. Brilliant performance.
Super Reviewer
½ May 24, 2013
Imaginative and intriguing film. There's some really good acting in this film. You'll probably have to see it more than once to fully appreciate the story.
Super Reviewer
½ August 6, 2009
A federal marshal enters a maximum security asylum for the criminally insane but when he begins to suspect that illegal experiments are being performed on the patients he starts to fear for both his safety and his sanity. Martin Scorsese hasn't had much luck when straying from his forte but this pulpy psychological thriller is pitched just right. Having DiCaprio as his leading man certainly does not hurt and he delivers yet another irritatingly fine performance. Add a quality supporting cast and a nicely ominous and oppressive score together with Scorsese's perfectly paced direction and some nice otherworldly visuals and you have a recipe for a great offbeat thriller with more than a hint of Hitchcockian flavour. The biggest problem with the film is that anyone who has seen more than three films in their lives will be aware that any set in a mental hospital will have one twist and one twist only. As such you'll see it coming a mile off and as a result the conclusion is a little unsatisfying but the journey is more than worthwhile.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2009
A gripping, bone-chilling, enthralling and unforgettably mind-blowing edge of your seat psychological thriller. It's stylish, creepy, eye-popping and relentlessly terrifying. It makes your blood run cold and delivers explosive twist and turns. One of the coolest and most compelling thrillers since The Sixth Sense. It sneaks up with you with big scares and stunningly emotional character development. A strong, compelling and powerful film. A marvelous mixture of film noir with a detective story and thrilling psychological horror. An instant classic. The suspense is delivered in unbearable doses that will knock you flat out.A sizzling and heart-pounding mystery that delivers what you want from it. A masterpiece. Director, Martin Scorsese is back and tackling a new genre with pure excellence. Scorsese is a filmmaker that never seems to fail at showing something new and amazing. This films shows superb film making and acting. A brilliant and incredible all-star cast. Leonardo DiCaprio is sensational, giving an exciting and riveting performance. Mark Ruffalo is terrific. Jackie Earl Haley is brilliant. Ben Kingsley is excellent. A riveting, haunting and unforgettable movie. An utterly shocking and breathtaking thrill-ride. A mind-game so intense and so exhilarating you will want to see it again and again.
Super Reviewer
½ September 7, 2010
I just watched this movie for a second time thinking that maybe I missed the point of the movie the first time around. No. This movie makes me angry by the end, and I seriously have a hard time staying awake for it all.
Market Man
Super Reviewer
October 15, 2012
"Shutter Island" is not intense and is full of your typical Dennis Lehane plot twists. I didn't like the book so I wasn't really expecting much from this film. Just the idea behind it is a little absurd but if you're a psychology fanatic you'll probably like it. For me, I'm just too lazy to analyze all that goes on in the film.
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2011
A lot of people have flak against this movie for its predictable ending. However, the movie is much more than it seems much like the plot is. If looked into deeply, it is a much more satisfying experience. Leonardo DiCaprio is great as usual. Martin Scorsese's direction is excellently done.
Super Reviewer
January 28, 2008
Teddy Daniels: Pull it together Teddy.

A well made thriller from director Martin Scorsese. This is essentially a really well made B-movie, in the same realm as his last big Hollywood thriller, Cape Fear, the remake from back in 91, which followed Goodfellas. Here, Scorsese clearly isn't working to make a monumental film to surpass the success he had with The Departed; he's instead made a film that sets out to unnerve its viewers as they try to unravel the mysteries surrounding the plot, and he does so by adding amazing art direction and a superb cast into the mix.

Scorsese's new millennium go to guy Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Teddy Daniels. He and his partner Chuck, played by Mark Ruffalo, are "duly appointed federal marshals" from Boston, and they are headed to an insane asylum for criminals on an island off the coast to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Upon arrival, they are relieved of their weapons and given the stink eye by almost everyone as they attempt to probe deeper into the situation.

Dr. John Cawley: We don't know how she got out of her room. It's as if she evaporated, straight through the walls.

As the marshals investigate, surveying the grounds, interviewing staff and patients, a hurricane moves through the island, making a trip home very difficult, more so once the power goes out, releasing many of the prisoners. Adding even more to this are the various reveals of not only the possible intentions of the workers on the island, but of the purposes for these particular marshals wanting to handle this case.

George Noyce: Don't you get it? You're a rat in a maze.

Some people knock Tarantino for all the various homages and references (which he gladly acknowledges) to other films that he makes in his own. As both he and Scorsese, among the many, many other filmmakers are huge film fanatics, those knockers better get on this film. Here Scorsese goes all out in making this a genre picture that reeks of impressions made by other films. Throughout this flick I got a sense of 'The Shining,' a lot of Hitchcock vibes, particularly Vertigo, many elements that I can attribute to a number of noir films, and of course The Twilight Zone. None of this hurts the film at all; the design is very specific throughout, and all of these mentioned elements only help push it into that pulpy territory.

This is a great looking film. Set in 1954, the film captures a wonderfully creepy atmosphere throughout, made even more stylish by the presence of wonderful art direction to reflect the nature of these older mental institutions. I can also always appreciate the costumes of these times, complete with large coats and great hats.

The trailers may set this film up as a horror flick, but there is much more mood and tension present than actual scares. It is all handled quite well as we follow Teddy's journey through this very isolated asylum. The way this film is shot certainly follows the feel of a Scorsese picture, which is always met with solid editing, keeping the flow and pace alive throughout. And the way the flashbacks and dreams introduce backstory in a creepy manner are also solid.

Warden: If I were to sink my teeth into your eye, right now, could you stop me before I blinded you?
Teddy Daniels: Why don't you find out?
Warden: That's the spirit.

Then you have all these stellar performances. DiCaprio continues to shine, providing a character with great depth, slowly wasting into madness as he seems to be being manipulated during his stay on this island. Ruffalo is again solid as his partner. A strong female cast consisting of small but important performances by Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, and Patricia Clarkson. Then you have this sweet genre cast that includes; Ghandi, Father Merrin of The Excorsist, Buffalo Bill, the Zodiac killer, Casey Jones, and Rorschach. Kidding with aliases aside, each actor present in this film shines in there roles, large or small.

There is much to admire here, but the main flaw should be mentioned. As I watched this film, I felt very involved in the look, sound, and overall feel of this film opposed to its plotting. I essentially felt like I was already watching it for the second time, absorbing more of what else was going on, because while the plot is strong, it certainly felt very familiar as more and more reveals occurred. Its interesting because an average film-goer can probably foresee where this film will end up early on, but the joy from the journey is what matters and is still very much present.

Another solid film to enter into Scorsese's cannon, that is matched with solid performances and great production values.

Teddy Daniels: I'm gonna find out what the fuck's going on in that lighthouse.
Super Reviewer
January 26, 2009
A downright spooky flick that lands somewhere between Cape Fear and Inception, based on a novel from the current master of the filmable thriller, Dennis Lehane. I enjoyed this movie for iits "twist," which seems a lot more predictable in hindsight than it did while watching the movie, and I also thought the acting was top-notch. Mark Ruffalo didn't look at all intimidated by Leo or Sir Ben, and his underplayed sidekick to DiCaprio's Teddy Daniels stole a few scenes. Chilling and intense but very watchable, and definitely deserving of the advance hype, but at its core it's simply a strong genre piece - one that's well worth the effort.
Super Reviewer
½ November 5, 2011
Dude! This was a question-bomb movie that will keep you hanging for the rest of your life to figure it out. I did liked it but it's just too frustrating to not know what actually happened. No I ain't gonna waste another minute to think about it thank you.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2011
A surprising mindbending mystery from Scorsese, though not his best, he's still on top of his game.
Super Reviewer
October 7, 2011
I really like the ideas behind this film, but there are one or two that clash pretty hard with some others. There are some points in the film where the tone changes quite violently: I thought we were watching a crime prodecural thriller, which then switches to a conspiracy theory drama. I'm still on board, and then it gets into mentally subjective dream sequences, and I for one had trouble orienting myself within the action. What exactly is this we're watching? It's hard to talk about the strength of this film without giving away the great twist ending. I thought it really came out of left field, but suffice to say that there is a very good reason why Teddy Daniels can't get a handle on what exactly is going on on this mysterious island. There is a reason that this is all so confusing and conflicting, and it culminated really well. A very cool story, that creates loads of great, tragically damaged and three-dimensional characters. Worth watching.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2011
I loved this film, a lot, my only problem was small, was that I found a few plot holes in it. In 1954, Federal Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck Ale (Mark Ruffolo) are heading to a mental institution on a land called Shutter Island. They have been asked to investigate the disappearance of Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer), a patient admitted to the asylum after she murdered her three children. As Teddy quizzes Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley), the head of the institution, he begins to suspect that the authorities in charge might not be giving him the whole truth, and that a terrible fate may befall all the patients in the spooky Ward C -- a unit devoted to the most heinous of the hospital's inmates. Complicating matters further, Teddy has a secret of his own -- the arsonist who murdered his wife is incarcerated on Shutter Island. Driven to confront his wife's killer, and stranded on the island because of a hurricane, Teddy must unravel the secrets of the eerie place before succumbing to his own madness. The plot was tremendous, even with a few holes, and Scorsese lives up to his greatness and I think this film was overlooked at the Oscars. The characters are memorable and brilliant, espically DiCaprio who we see go through hell and his acting is so great its like we are going insane with him. I can honestly say this is a worthy edition to Scorsese's movies, and one of my favorite movies of all time.
Super Reviewer
½ February 3, 2011
Teddy Daniels: Which would be worse - to live as a monster, or to die as a good man? 

"Someone Is Missing"

Martin Scorsese's latest film is a tense and effective thriller. Shutter Island isn't about the twist; it's about the lead up to the twist. I can't say the twist is exactly hard to guess throughout the film, but it's still a great thriller. The atmosphere on the island is great and the score is effective in regards to the films atmosphere. I didn't think I would enjoy watching for a second time, but I really did. In many ways I liked it more the second time around.

The movie has a lot going for it. One of the best directors around, one of the best actors going right now in DiCaprio and also a great supporting cast including Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo and Michelle Williams. It also has a solid premise, which is two marshals come to investigate a patient's escape from a insane asylum on an island. The first half hour of this movie really hooked me. From the first view of Shutter Island on board the ferry to hearing about the the different wards. It was all sone very effectively and really started the movie off strong. 

The whole debriefing at the end by Ben Kingsley's character could have been done better. I think we are told a little bit too much. We already know what had happened by this point, yet we are pounded with the truth. If we were told less, it would have made the ending(which is good) even better. But I'm not going to criticize the film as entirety for that. 

When it comes down to it Scorsese just shows how versatile he is. He's made so many different types of movies, yet many people only think of mob movies when they think of him. People forget about his period piece, The Age of Innocence and his many great character studies. Everyone knows he's a great director. It would just be nice if he was remembered by everyone for making more then just Goodfellas.
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2011
I'm a fan of thrillers, and this didn't disappoint. Add some scariness to it and you got yourself a pretty good movie.
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