Shutter Island (film)
Theatrical release poster with original release date
|Directed by||Martin Scorsese|
|Produced by||Martin Scorsese
Bradley J. Fischer
Arnold W. Messer
|Screenplay by||Laeta Kalogridis
Steven Knight (Uncredited)
|Based on||Shutter Island
by Dennis Lehane
Max von Sydow
|Editing by||Mick Audsley
|Studio||Appian Way Productions
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||138 minutes|
Shutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film is based on Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel of the same name. Production started in March 2008. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as U.S. Marshal Edward "Teddy" Daniels, who is investigating a psychiatric facility on the titular island. Positively cited by movie reviewers, the film grossed over $128 million in its initial domestic theater release, as well as an additional $166 million internationally.
In 1954, two U.S. Marshals, Edward "Teddy" Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, travel to the Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island located in Boston Harbor, as part of an investigation into the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando, incarcerated for drowning her three children. Shortly after arrival, a storm prevents their return to the mainland for several days. Daniels finds the staff confrontational: the lead psychiatrist, Dr. John Cawley, refuses to hand over records of the hospital staff; Solando's doctor, Dr. Sheehan, had left on vacation after her disappearance, and they are barred from searching Ward C and told that the lighthouse on the island has already been searched.
Daniels starts having migraine headaches, waking visions of his involvement in the Dachau liberation reprisals, and disturbing dreams of his wife, Dolores Chanal, who was killed in a fire set by arsonist Andrew Laeddis. In one dream, Chanal tells Daniels that Solando is still on the island, as is Laeddis. Daniels later explains to Aule that locating Laeddis was an ulterior motive for taking the case.
As Daniels and Aule continue their investigation, they find that Solando has been found by the staff with no explanation. With neither the staff or patients helping, Daniels decides to break into Ward C, and eventually meets George Noyce, another patient. Noyce warns Daniels that Ashecliffe is performing questionable experiments on its patients, and sends the incurable to the lighthouse to be lobotomized. As Daniels leaves, Noyce asserts that everyone on the island, including Aule, is playing in a game designed for Daniels.
Daniels regroups with Aule and they make their way to the lighthouse, but as they attempt to traverse the cliffs, they become separated. Daniels finds a woman hiding in a cave, claiming to be the real Rachel Solando (Clarkson). The woman asserts she was a former psychiatrist at Ashecliffe until she discovered the experiments with psychotropic medication in an attempt to develop mind control techniques. When she attempted to alert the authorities, she was committed as a patient. Leaving the woman, Daniels finds no sign of Aule, and returns to the hospital. Dr. Cawley claims that Daniels arrived alone, with no evidence of Aule ever being there.
Determined but confused, Daniels returns to the lighthouse and breaks into it. At the top, he finds Dr. Cawley waiting for him. Cawley explains that Andrew Laeddis is actually Daniels himself, "[their] most dangerous patient", incarcerated in Ward C for murdering his manic depressive wife after she drowned their children. According to Dr. Cawley, the events of the past several days have been designed to break Laeddis' conspiracy-laden insanity by allowing him to play out the role of Daniels, an anagram of his name. The hospital staff, including Dr. Sheehan posing as Aule and a nurse posing as Rachel Solando, were part of the test, and the migraines that Laeddis suffered were withdrawal symptoms from his medication. As memories of reality overwhelm Laeddis, he faints.
Laeddis awakes in the hospital, under watch of Dr. Cawley and Sheehan. When questioned, Laeddis tells the truth in a coherent manner, which satisfies the doctors as a sign of progression. Nevertheless, Dr. Cawley notes that they had achieved this state nine months before but Laeddis had quickly regressed, and further warns that this will be Laeddis' last chance. Some time later, Laeddis relaxes on the hospital grounds with Dr. Sheehan, but calls him "Chuck" and says they need to get off the island. Sheehan nods to an observing Cawley, who gestures to the orderlies towards Laeddis. As he is about to be taken away, Laeddis asks Dr. Sheehan, "Which would be worse? To live as a monster, or die as a good man?", and then calmly leaves with the orderlies.
- Leonardo DiCaprio as Edward "Teddy" Daniels
- Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Aule
- Ben Kingsley as Dr. John Cawley
- Max von Sydow as Dr. Jeremiah Naehring
- Michelle Williams as Dolores Chanal
- Emily Mortimer as Rachel Solando
- Patricia Clarkson as Dr. Rachel Solando
- Jackie Earle Haley as George Noyce
- Ted Levine as Warden
- John Carroll Lynch as Deputy Warden McPherson
- Elias Koteas as Andrew Laeddis
- Jill Larson as Old Manacled Woman
- Ken Cheeseman as Doctor 1
- Ruby Jerins as Rachel Laeddis
- Robin Bartlett as Bridget Kearns
- Christopher Denham as Peter Breene
- Matthew Cowles as Ferry Boat Captain
Film rights to Dennis Lehane's novel Shutter Island were first optioned to Columbia Pictures in 2003, but the rights lapsed back to the author. Lehane's representatives then sold the rights to the production company Phoenix Pictures, who hired screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis to write the screenplay. The project was in development for a year. By October 2007, the project had developed into a co-production between Columbia and Paramount Pictures. Director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who had worked together on Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed, were both attracted to the project. Locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Nova Scotia were scouted. Production began on March 6, 2008.
The World War II flashback scenes were filmed in Taunton, Massachusetts. Old industrial buildings in Taunton's Whittenton Mills Complex were used to replicate the Dachau concentration camp. Scenes were filmed at the old Medfield State Hospital in Medfield, Massachusetts. Scenes in Cawley's office were shot on the second floor of the chapel during the late evening; lights were shone through the windows to make it look like it was daytime. The surrounding brick walls in the outside hospital scenes were actually painted to look like plywood which served the dual purpose of acting as scenery and blocking the set from view of a local road. Originally, scenes were going to be shot at the old Worcester State Hospital, but the filming would have gone on during the demolition of the surrounding buildings, which was impractical. Borderland State Park in Easton, Massachusetts was used for the cabin scene. Peddocks Island was used as a setting for the story's island and East Point, in Nahant, Massachusetts for the lighthouse scenes. Filming ended on July 2, 2008.
|Shutter Island: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by Various Artists|
|Released||February 2, 2010|
Shutter Island: Music from the Motion Picture was released on February 2, 2010, by Rhino Records. The film has no original score. Instead, Scorsese's longtime collaborator Robbie Robertson created an ensemble of previously recorded material to use in the film.
According to a statement on Paramount's website: "The collection of modern classical music [on the soundtrack album] was hand-selected by Robertson, who is proud of its scope and sound. 'This may be the most outrageous and beautiful soundtrack I've ever heard.' [Robertson stated]."
A full track-listing of the album can be seen below. All the musical works are featured in the final film.
- Disc 1
- "Fog Tropes" (Ingram Marshall) – (Orchestra of St. Lukes & John Adams)
- "Symphony No. 3: Passacaglia – Allegro Moderato" (Krzysztof Penderecki) – (National Polish Radio Symphony & Antoni Wit)
- "Music for Marcel Duchamp" (John Cage) – (Philipp Vandré)
- "Hommage à John Cage" – (Nam June Paik)
- "Lontano" (György Ligeti) – (Wiener Philharmoniker & Claudio Abbado)
- "Rothko Chapel 2" (Morton Feldman) – (UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus)
- "Cry" – (Johnnie Ray)
- "On the Nature of Daylight" – (Max Richter)
- "Uaxuctum: The Legend of the Mayan City Which They Themselves Destroyed for Religious Reasons – 3rd Movement" (Giacinto Scelsi) – (Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra)
- "Quartet for Strings and Piano in A Minor" (Gustav Mahler) – (Prazak Quartet)
- Disc 2
- "Christian Zeal and Activity" (John Adams) – (The San Francisco Symphony & Edo de Waart)
- "Suite for Symphonic Strings: Nocturne" (Lou Harrison) – (The New Professionals Orchestra & Rebecca Miller)
- "Lizard Point" – (Brian Eno)
- "Four Hymns: II for Cello and Double Bass" (Alfred Schnittke) – (Torleif Thedéen & Entcho Radoukanov)
- "Root of an Unfocus" (John Cage) – (Boris Berman)
- "Prelude – The Bay" – (Ingram Marshall)
- "Wheel of Fortune" – (Kay Starr)
- "Tomorrow Night" – (Lonnie Johnson)
- "This Bitter Earth"/"On the Nature of Daylight" – (Dinah Washington & Max Richter; Arrangement by Robbie Robertson)
As a period piece, Shutter Island is laced with nods to different films in the film noir and horror genre, and could generally be viewed as paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock's works. Scorsese stated in an interview that while the main reference to Teddy Daniels was Dana Andrews' character in Laura, he was also influenced by several very low-budget 1940s zombie movies made by Val Lewton. The main frame of the plot bears strong resemblance to William Peter Blatty's The Ninth Configuration, a film also known as Twinkle, Twinkle, "Killer" Kane.
La Croix noted that Shutter Island was a "complex and puzzling" work which borrowed from genres as diverse as detective and fantasy, and notably the psychological thriller.
There have been differing opinions over the ending of the film in which Laeddis tells Dr. Sheehan that one can "live as a monster, or die as a good man"—a line that does not appear in the book. According to Scorsese's psychiatric adviser, Professor James Gilligan of New York University, Laeddis' last words mean: "I feel too guilty to go on living. I'm not going to actually commit suicide, but I'm going to vicariously commit suicide by handing myself over to these people who're going to lobotomise me." Dennis Lehane, however, was quoted as saying, "Personally, I think he has a momentary flash.... It's just one moment of sanity mixed in the midst of all the other delusions."
The film was scheduled to be released by Paramount Pictures in the United States and Canada on October 2, 2009. Paramount later announced it was going to push back the release date to February 19, 2010. Reports attribute the pushback to Paramount not having "the financing in 2009 to spend the $50 to $60 million necessary to market a big awards pic like this," to DiCaprio's unavailability to promote the film internationally, and to Paramount's hope that the economy might rebound enough by February 2010 that a film geared toward adult audiences would be more viable financially.
The film premiered at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival as part of the competition screening on February 13, 2010. Spanish distributor Manga Films distributed the film in Spain after winning a bidding war that reportedly reached the $6 million to $8 million range.
The film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 68% based on reviews from 241 critics, and reports a rating average of 6.6 out of 10. The film received a weighted average score of 63% from Metacritic based on 37 reviews from mainstream critics.
Lawrence Toppman of The Charlotte Observer gave the film 4/4 stars claiming "After four decades, Martin Scorsese has earned the right to deliver a simple treatment of a simple theme with flair." Writing for The Wall Street Journal, John Anderson highly praised the film, suggesting it "requires multiple viewings to be fully realized as a work of art. Its process is more important than its story, its structure more important than the almost perfunctory plot twists it perpetrates. It's a thriller, a crime story and a tortured psychological parable about collective guilt." Awarding the film 3½ stars out of 4, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote "the movie is about: atmosphere, ominous portents, the erosion of Teddy's confidence and even his identity. It's all done with flawless directorial command. Scorsese has fear to evoke, and he does it with many notes."
The Orlando Sentinel's Roger Moore, who gave the film 2½ stars out of 4, wrote, "It's not bad, but as Scorsese, America's greatest living filmmaker and film history buff should know, even Hitchcock came up short on occasion. See for yourself." Dana Stevens of Slate described the film "an aesthetically and at times intellectually exciting puzzle, but it's never emotionally involving." The Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday negatively described the film as being "weird". A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote in his review that "Something TERRIBLE is afoot. Sadly, that something turns out to be the movie itself."
The film opened #1 at the box office with $41 million, according to studio estimates. The movie gave Scorsese his best box office opening yet. The film remained #1 in its second weekend with $22.2 million. Eventually, the film has grossed $128,012,934 in North America and $166,790,080 in foreign markets, for a total of $294,803,014 and became Scorsese's highest-grossing film worldwide.
Shutter Island was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 8, 2010, in the USA, and on August 2, 2010 in the UK. The UK release featured two editions—a standard edition and a limited steel-case edition.
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- Official website
- Shutter Island at the Internet Movie Database
- Shutter Island at allmovie
- Shutter Island at Box Office Mojo
- Shutter Island at Rotten Tomatoes
- Shutter Island at Metacritic