film review: Shutter Island (2010)5 Comments
Like with many films that have their release dates moved around, I was skeptical of Shutter Island. As in I was expecting nothing. I was pleasantly surprised.
I have to admit, I don’t really know much about Martin Scorsese…
…I say things like that and people are all “What kind of a film buff are you??”. I’m not a film buff. I like watching films but I wouldn’t say I know any more than the average person (see what I did there). In fact when it comes to the “classics” I know less than most people. Ok, I’ve seen the likes of Citizen Kane (10/10) and Seven Samurai (8/10) but I’ve never seen The Godfather Trilogy or any Hitchcock films… but back to Scorsese…
I’ve seen a couple of his films. I liked Goodfellas enough; I thought The Departed was pretty decent, though I did prefer the original Hong Kong films*. Taxi Driver I wasn’t so pushed on – if I had been in my late teens / early 20s I might have thought it was a work of genius but as is was, I’m just not that angry any more. So anyway, it’s not like I was going to Shutter Island expecting something amazing.
Now it wasn’t AMAZING but it was very good. Far better than I had been expecting. It started off a bit ominously – I did not like the hysterical music at the start at all… but I think that was just a bit of a misjudgement. In general I thought the score was very good, atmospheric, I really thought it set the tone. I found the film an unsettling watch, which was completely unexpected, it’s very rare that I’d be put off kilter by a film.. In fact the last film was probably The Exorcist… and before that perhaps Se7en (which I saw in the cinema). Course, Criminal Minds freaks me out all the time… but that’s different, popcorn TV, I don’t think too hard about it after. Films are judged under a different light.
I do hope you go see Shutter Island, it’s a classic well-crafted thriller and there’s good performances all round. I suppose there is a chance that not everyone will like it. One friend of mine really seemed to hate it. I’m not really sure why but then I’m not that inclined to ask. I can see how, if you weren’t in the mood for it, you might find some of the more obvious devices very jarring. I didn’t and to be honest I don’t think the average person will either, there’s a lot for people to enjoy about this film if you just take it at face value. There’s more there too if you decide to look a bit harder at it but I don’t think that’s necessary to enjoy it at all.
I will say this though, I’m faintly worried by how surprised I was that it was a good film. It made me worry that I may have lowered my standards too much. Perhaps I expect so little now that anything good is impressive. As I’m sure you remember from other posts of mine – I go out of my way to expect nothing… perhaps I’ve been going a bit too far out of my way.
But that’s by the by, I’ll want to see a few more good films, like this one, before I start upping my expectations again. I think I’d get depressed if I started to expect good films; you need a buffer when you see as many films as I do…
* = I may not really be a film buff but for whatever reason I’ve seen more than a few HK/Korean/Chinese and Japanese films – usually gangster films and horrors