I'm going to start this review by saying that I've never been much of a Martin Scorsese fan. Or Leonardo DiCaprio for that matter and since they pretty much only work with each other, I haven't had the pleasure of seeing many of their collaborations, which is tallying upwards of around 40 or so, right? Well, Shutter Island, a film about psychopaths locked up on an island, I just couldn't ignore.
Shutter Island is shot extremely well. The style harkens back to the golden age of movies, when men smoked a lot of cigarettes and said things like, "What, are you a wiseguy? Keep it shut, she!" The design of the movie, the score, the screenplay -- it all adds up to a spectacular re-visting of detective noir movies from the 40s and 50s.
Having said that, the film suffers due to two major influences -- Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo. These two don't look comfortable at all working with each other and when they're on the screen together, it looks like two schmoes playing detective. Ruffalo looks bored just being involved and DiCaprio looks like he's trying to get an Oscar video bite out of each second with his ruffled brow and steely-eyed glare. The supporting cast is just great however. It's unfortunate that Scorsese couldn't look beyond his man-love for DiCaprio and get somebody a little better for this particular role. Case in point, John Carroll Lynch, the actor who portrays Deputy Warden McPherson, is miles better and more believable and entertaining in his miniscule role than both Ruffalo and DiCaprio are in theirs.
The film does have its share of twists and turns, it just takes an extremely long time getting there and by the time the end comes, you're just glad the marathon is over. At the end of the day, Shutter Island feels over-expanded and exhausting. I give Shutter Island **1/2 out of *****.