Movie #1: Shutter Island

A lot of movies catch my eye, but with all the mediocre reviews and bad word-of-mouth these days, I don’t end up seeing a lot of them in the theatre. However, they do make it on to my mental list for some future date to screen at home from the comfort of my living room. Well, sadly that list has gotten really long and so I set myself the project this summer of knocking off 50 of those movies (I know, that’s a lot of movies — more than what I see all year in the theatre). Meanwhile, I’ll try to write a little capsule review on each one. We’ll see if I have the fortitude to be a true couch potato this summer. 50 movies, 1 summer. Wish me luck!

Movie #1 is Shutter Island: Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo star as US Marshalls sent to investigate an escaped prisoner from an institution for the criminally insane located on a rocky island in Boston Harbour. As if it weren’t creepy enough to be around dangerous and disturbed individuals, to say things are not quite what they seem is a gargantuan understatement. Director Martin Scorsese totally channels the master, Mr. Hitchcock, from the loud discordant music to the head-trippy twists (Now why aren’t you doing these kinds of movies, eh Mr. Shyamalan?). There are many scenes that I found really disturbing: from surreal dream sequences, to inmates jumping out of the dark, to DiCaprio’s character’s memories of liberating a Nazi concentration camp. Overlaid on all of that is the constant fear that every asylum story has baked-in: When is he going to be trapped with the inmates? When is he going to go insane? As the movie goes on, the very nature of sanity comes into question. The cast is top-notch: from DiCaprio and Ruffalo, to Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow as two of the doctors, the always-creepy Jackie Earle Haley as an inmate, Michelle Williams as DiCaprio’s wife, and one of my favourites, Patricia Clarkson (in a role that I’m not going to reveal — spoilers!). This is probably my favourite movie that I never want to watch again. It took a while to get going, but it really got inside my skull. Maybe tomorrow I’ll watch a nice safe kids movie instead. (4 out of 5)

1 down, 49 to go!

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