Friday, February 19, 2010

Shutter Island and More

Leonardo DiCaprio and master auteur Martin Scorsese have previously collaborated on depictions of brutal 19th century gang violence (Gangs of New York), 30s Hollywood glamor and psychosis (The Aviator) and contemporary Boston crime wars (The Departed). For their fourth duet, they're lighting a match to explore the dark corridors of 50s era insane asylums. Leo is strongest as an actor when he's unraveling -- you can keep the cocky default mode, which plentiful other actors do just as well -- and Scorsese seems to understand this, keeping Leo continually off balance in the creepy Shutter Island. The film opens with a closeup of DiCaprio's seasick terror (sea travel is the only way this federal marshall can get to the island) and he almost never catches a break from there. For the next two hours of his investigation of the disappearing murderess, he'll be sweating, hallucinating, crying, paranoid and beset from all sides by possible dangers as well as his own troubled past.


Read the rest of my weekly column @ Towleroad

Are you seeing Shutter Island this weekend or taking in another new(ish) release. I'm most interested in The Ghost Writer on account of Polanski & Ewan McGregor but Happy Tears? The casting of Parker Posey and Demi Moore as siblings intrigues me. I can see it, looks wise but spiritually speaking, bizarre. right? If you're all anxious for that Celine Dion documentary, please don't tell me! Some things should be kept private.

The Oscars are only three weeks away (!) so soon it'll be 2010 proper, as in New Film Year! We probably haven't seen anything yet that has nominations in its future next year -- though some may hope for some Fish Tank recognition in a year -- but maybe something soon?

25 comments:

Thais Afonso said...

There is a Celine Dion documentary? Oh My God.

Nathaniel, I'm dying to hear your opinion about The Ghost Writer. The critics seem divided.

BrianZ said...

Love Ghost Writer!! Total must-see.

Nicholas said...

I certainly hope to see Fish Tank on the ballots for the 2010 Oscars. It was A-MA-ZING!

Casey said...

I felt a little cheated by the "twist" in Shutter Island as well but I think I liked it a little more than you did Nathaniel. Thematically it makes sense to me in terms of Scorsese's oeuvre because I do think it was an effective character study. DiCaprio's performance blew me away though. I think he's really one of the best actors working and this was one of his best performances as far as Im concerned.

The real reactions I've had to Shutter Island are that I can't wait for Inception any longer and I really think Marty and Leo should do a Hemingway book. I think they'd make a brilliant adaptation of The Sun Also Rises

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NoNo said...

Even if the reviews were dreadful, I would go out and support a February release by an auteur like Scorcese. I'm even going to see Polanski's new film in spite of my personal feelings. This time of year is usually murder for the the Cinephile.

Damien said...

So "Shutter Island"'s a dud, huh? Guess that explains why it took so long for it to be released. Damn. And I wanted this one to be good too. Slim pickings out there with "Valentine's Day" and "Percy Jackson" whatever as your alternatives. I've seen all of the Oscar nominees, so I guess I'll gorge out on TCM some more. That's where it's really at right now anyways, people!

NATHANIEL R said...

Damien -- well, a lot of people love Shutter Island. I'm just not one of them.

so far the reviews seem quite kind.

Derreck said...

Saw Shutter Island at a midnight showing.

and i agree with the consensus that if you've read the book, it takes alot away from viewing the movie. I did appreciate the very subtle change in the ending though.

i did love Michelle Williams and her accent. Plus, there were alot of 'ooh, that's pretty' moments.

My friends who didn't read the book thought the film was amazing.

Derreck said...

and i'm not so sure why people give Leo such a hard time. He's a damn good actor, imo.

Not to sound totally ridiculous, but he always does excellent crying scenes.

NATHANIEL R said...

Derreck. that's totally what he's best at! I love to watch him lose it. is that cruel of me?

i just wanted Kate Winslet to keep ripping him to shreds in Revolutionary Road because he was so much more interesting when he was just in total emotional pain.

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I'm very excited to see this movie.

Derreck said...

Nat,

It's not cruel at all! I was the same way. Honestly, i totally enjoyed all of the bitter arguments in Revolutionary Road. I loved how April knew exactly what to say to get under Frank's skin and how raw the both of them would get when they were angry. Leo aside, Kate did do an excellent job though when she broke down while washing the dishes.

Well, now that i think about it, if these were real people, i'd be a horrible person.

and back on topic,
well, my favorite Leo crying part in Shutter Island was when he scooped _________ out of the ________. God, i hope that's not too vague and yet vague enough. Anyways, he totally got me there.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

Leonardo DiCaprio, if things go well, is a shoe-in for another nomination. Don't forget Inception is coming as well this year.

I'm really looking forward to that.

Can I just take a moment to say how amazing it must be to be Christopher Nolan when looking at his filmography?


Successful reboot of a franchise, record-breaking sequel of the same franchise with critical and popular acclaim, Oscar nomination for one of the most brilliant films of the decada, plus The Prestige and Insomnia.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

See, I read the novel in August, and I LOOOOOVED the movie. I thought, if anything, reading the novel first made for a more satisfying experience, since most of the people I went with thought it was all right, good, likable, etc. I can understand anyone not caring for it, but it worked 100% for me.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting... can't wait to see Shutter Island now. However if this is the case, I wonder what people thought of The Road. I found that reading the novel really ruined the movie for me.. The novel was just exceptional, and it felt like the story meant so much more.. movie was simply morbid..put me to sleep

Katelyn said...

LEONARDO DICAPRIO WAS AMAZING!!!

NATHANIEL R said...

anon -- i thought The Road was a good enough attempt at filming something that really wasn't meant to be filmed. That book is just a masterpiece.

janelia said...

I just watched Shutter Island tonight. I fell asleep during the first half because it was so much descriptive scenery and establishing a mood. I woke up for the second half and the twist was so painfully obvious. I predicted it from the trailer. Since this is a "twist" movie in the style of M. Night Shyamalan, being able to guess the twist made the movie approximately 75% less enjoyable. The remaining 25% is only because I like Leo; Patricia Clarkson's cameo was great.

Speaking of celebrity cameos, Percy Jackson was MUCH better than I could have ever hoped for. Uma Thurman as Medusa? Yes, please! It was also a lot of fun. Without having read the book and not being attached to any prestige or hype actually works well for Percy Jackson.

Dell said...

Well, I ended up watching this on Saturday night. Don't really know what to make of it yet. I don't have anyone in real-life to spout out my crazy theories to about this, and I don't want to spoil things here for those who haven't seen it yet. For what it was, I was definitely entertained, but I didn't think things all quite held up plot-wise (but it sounds like the book was this far-fetched too). And maybe this is just from watching more television than film, but I need strong characterizations that pull me in emotionally for any significant amount of time to really connect. This film was so click click click click click and artifical in so many places. Only Leo's character survived that relatively intact. That is what it is and maybe that's the whole point, but I'm fairly cold with the film barely two days out despite Marty's juiced-up direction. Scratch this one off for the Oscars also. It would have struggled there even if it came out last fall. The box office will have to be its reward there.

Filmwatcher said...

Very good actor's play, music and beginning of the movie. All went well untill DiCaprio met the George in block "C". Then began clear pscyho, not trhiller... Bad the end of film, imho.

Neoridendo said...

I don't see the twist, rather how brain washing works - if you believe Leo was patient of the clinic since ever, you might be a patient too?

Sheila King said...

So amazing to see how many people didn't get this movie. Great flick and I think it'll genuinely get more respect with the passage of time. I've seen it three times and it only got better on each consecutive viewing. Tricky film with lots of layers. Too bad most people weren't able to look further than the surface, though. They missed out on this one big time.

randomchutney said...

I'm often conscious of the tricks our mind can play on us and how we can sometimes become confused between reality and fantasy / imagination. small wonder it seems as we are yet to fully work out how the brain differentiates between the two! however, if i needed any reminding of this fact, the film 'shutter island' (2010) illustrated it very well.

martin scorsese's latest venture, set in 'a water-bound mental hospital housing the criminally insane' (rottentomatoes.com), was in my view a hopelessly sensational and ludicrously contrived film with more twists and turns than one could keep track of. it eventually left you feeling potentially unsure of anything in life let alone the film, which could have been unnerving if you hadn't walked out of the cinema or felt beyond caring by that point.

not exactly in the realm of 'the usual suspects' or 'the sixth sense' where you didn't quite know what to expect or what was coming but at least it all came together in the end and the audience didn't feel quite so hopelessly and deliberately manipulated...

Aion Accounts said...

saw it already and i can say it's a good movie not so great. But Leonardo Dicaprio was kinda good.=)