Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scorsese's Latest Film is Fantastic

Martin Scorsese is easily one of my favorite filmmakers. He's made such classics as "Goodfellas" "Raging Bull" and "Gangs of New York". Many of his films, such as two of the films previously mentioned, center around mafia and/or gang activities. Finally, several of his films portray realistic, gritty and unabashed violence. While "Shutter Island" certainly has it's share of violence, it does not center around the story of mobsters or gang members. It is, however, an excellent film, full of twists, turns and surprises.

The film is set in 1954, at Shutter Island's Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Boston investigator Teddy Daniels. He finally gets an assignment he's been yearning for, one investigating the disappearance of a patient from the infamous hospital. He and his partner Chuck Aule, played excellently by Mark Ruffalo, arrive on the island to the seemingly cooperative head of the hospital, Dr. Cawley, played by the equally excellent Sir Ben Kingsley. Teddy and Chuck begin their shrewed investigating, examining file after file, and begin to uncover clues that lead to some very unsettling activities and practices by the staff. After being stranded on the island for days by a storm, things of Teddy and Chuck's lives begin to present themselves in such a way that keeps the viewer riveted to their seats. The excitement culminates into a series of twists that will keep the viewer watching in awe.

Typically, I'm not a fan of DiCaprio's roles. Frankly, I think, at times, he can go somewhat overboard in a role, and it comes off as forced and overacted. However, this was a much more subdued role. At times, there were moments of overacting that made me a little less impressed, but it would quickly redeem itself. Two of the many bright spots in the film were the excellent acting by Ruffalo and Kingsley. Having never seen Ruffalo in many roles, I really didn't have his other roles to which to compare this one. But his acting is not contrived, as DiCaprio is sometimes guilty of. His acting is somewhat one-dimensional, but in a good way. While Teddy has many layers of his persona that unveil themselves throughout the film, Chuck's personality helps to reel in the sometimes outlandish antics of his partner. Secondly, Kingsley's performance, while technically being one of the antagonist, is so subtle that the viewer is not led to believe that this is a bad man, but simply the head physician of a hospital for the insane. Kingsley is so good that he doesn't need to act. He can simply memorize his lines, and the rest comes naturally. He's also an actor that will lose himself in a role, as evidenced by his Oscar winning role as the title character in "Gandhi".

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The acting, writing, and the twists and turns of the plot all made this film a nail-bitter from start to finish.

No comments:

Post a Comment