Saturday, 27 March 2010

'Which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?'

Shutter Island
Directed by Martin Scorsese

A pastiche of cinema. Speaking at the BFI in December, Scorsese is a man who's life he has dedicated to the moving image. His passion and obsession for cinema is infectious. He loves making films, he loves watching films and he loves talking about films. Yet Shutter Island feels like a mish mash of Hitchcock and Welles, the result; a bloated and mundane piece of cinema. The camera sweeps into each scene from every angle imaginable. If the film has one defining hallmark; it's excess.

The scene where DiCaprio runs up the stair case of a light house had an incredibly complex production, a rotating spiral iron clad stair case was constructed, allowing the camera to rotate with Leo frantically running up each step. These impressive details are given no room to breathe, excess suffocates any of the clearly impressive craft that went into making Shutter Island. If the film was leaner in every respect, story, camera, production, you feel it would be a far more effective homage to the greats of cinema. DiCaprio is miscast as a decorated war hero now US marshal; a kid who can squint and grow a bit of facial hair. The flash backs of concentration camps feel uncomfortable. Almost as if this harrowing event is being manipulated to show DiCaprio's tortured soul, epitomising this contrived film.

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