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Shutter Island

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Hollywood Reporter:

"Shutter" is an adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel that follows two U.S. marshals who are sent to a federal institution for the criminally insane located in Boston's Outer Harbor to capture a violent female escapee. DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Michelle Williams are on board to star in the production, which is due to go before cameras in March.

So I guess we have to wait two more years for Silence.

Edited by Overstreet

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Hollywood Reporter:

"Shutter" is an adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel that follows two U.S. marshals who are sent to a federal institution for the criminally insane located in Boston's Outer Harbor to capture a violent female escapee. DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Michelle Williams are on board to star in the production, which is due to go before cameras in March.

So I guess we have to wait two more years for Silence.

I'd rather see the Teddy Roosevelt biopic. That's an amazing source biography, and for once, I think DiCaprio couldn't be a more perfect fit for a role.

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And Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson!

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This film has a very good chance at being better than the book, as it was just a psychological thriller without that vivid sense of place you get in his other books. I really wish Scorcese would have done one of Lehane's Kenzie-Gennaro books instead, but maybe that's why I ain't making the big bucks.

Edited by MLeary

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Link to the second thread on this film (now called Shutter Island).

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The film's release date has been bumped to February 2010. Dave Poland speculates that this might be, in part, a consequence of the Academy's decision to expand the number of Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10:

[Releasing the film in October 2009 would mean] not
just
paying for a release. It is another four months of paying for an Oscar campaign for a movie they know may well be able to be pushed into a list of 10 (another way the expansion has screwed a major studio) when it was never expected to make it into a list of 5. Cash flow is tough at Paramount, but releasing a movie in October is not a lot different in cost than releasing in February. What is more expensive is holding it in theaters and in Oscar voters' minds beyond those first 4 weeks of heavy release. . . . It's an extra $15 million that Par does not have to spend on an extended Oscar run when it already knows that a win is nearly impossible for a film like this and a nomination will not add to their cash flow.

I also love the headline on Karina Longworth's blurb reporting this development: "SHUTTER ISLAND Shuffled to Next Fiscal Quarter?"

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New trailer. Better than the first.

Man, does this one have a great cast or what?

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Heavens.

If I hadn't seen Twitter coming alive with similar raves, I'd write this off as typical Harry hysteria. Interesting.

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Drew McWeeny @ Hitfix has just posted his full review -- two months before the movie's release date:

So far, I'm 50/50 on films adapted from Dennis Lehane novels. I really, truly, intensely don't like Eastwood's "Mystic River," which I felt was overwrought and preposterous. But "Gone Baby Gone," as directed by Ben Affleck, was a solid, bitter little pill. I liked that film's sensibility, the way it handled what could have been a big fat bag of melodrama. Having never read Lehane, it seems to me that adapting his work becomes a matter of taste, and how restrained or how florid you play his very big, very mechanical plots. Tone is the trick of the thing, and that's especially true with this piece of material. Scorsese's in "Cape Fear" mode here, making his own version of the sort of thing that rocked his world when he was younger. Scorsese is still every bit the active, imitative film nerd that Quentin Tarantino is... they're just drawing from different wells.

Screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis faced a challenge with "Shutter Island," and with an audience that's ten years past "The Sixth Sense," which set off a spate of films that were built to play some sort of trick on the audience, whether that's a twist or a reveal or a structural gimmick or whatever... M. Night's got a lot of 'splainin' to do when it comes to the sins of the '00's. "Shutter Island" is less about what the final reveal turns out to be, and more about the ride along the way. And that's not to say the end of the film is weak... it's an emotional powerhouse that more than justifies any game-playing that goes on. It's just that this film is such a tactile pleasure, such a finely-tuned genre machine by a guy who is one of the most reflexively gifted visual storytellers who has ever worked. I like this a hell of a lot more than I liked "The Departed," which I enjoyed. That one felt like familiar ground, though, while this is a Scorsese we've never really seen before. He's played dark, and he's played with high style, but he's never really made something you could call a horror film before now. "Shutter Island" is a horror film, but with a haunted house that travels on two legs. . . .

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Glenn Kenny has a strong response to the film.

Good news. So far, so good from the critical front.

While waiting for the film to come out, I read the source material - Dennis Lehane's novel. It was an entertaining read, but I'm especially interested to see what Scorcese, DiCaprio, Ruffalo, et al. do with it.

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I didn't realize this was Scorsese. How cool, I'm coming into a phase where I'm going to watch all of his films, beginning to end, and I'll be buying a used copy of Hollywood Under Siege: Martin Scorsese, the Religious Right, and the Culture Wars this weekend.

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I'm proud to be a part of a faith-based community that has The Last Temptation of Christ in their Top 100. Kudos to you all.

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All of you realize this is going to be the best film of the month, right?

San Francisco Chronicle - Scorsese's 'Shutter Island' Visits Noir Haunts -

"Shutter Island" finds a master filmmaker at the peak of his powers. Scorsese has made bold choices, from his striking use of music to the sometimes-nightmarish, sometimes-mythic sets. He cites visual and thematic lineages from German Expressionism, especially later works, such as Fritz Lang's films from the '30s to early '50s."That's what I had in my mind as a template, in a way. I shouldn't say anything specifically visual; rather the mood and tone, and particularly the sense of a character who's on a long, long, difficult journey and who's going to find out a lot of things about himself and the people around him," as in the early Expressionist classic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." "This is something that's very basic in literature and Dennis Lehane's novel," he says. "So yes, there's that, there's Orson Welles' 'The Trial,' there's the tone and mood of any of the Val Lewton films, particularly the ones directed by Jacques Tourneur, 'Cat People' and 'I Walked With a Zombie' - bad titles but beautiful films."

As Scorsese riffs on these influences, his encyclopedic knowledge of cinema never seems detached or academic. Like Quentin Tarantino, that other notorious film geek, the director's rapid-fire references radiate enthusiasm. There's a palpable joy present in his sharing of the movies that infused his approach. Apart from screening the Otto Preminger noir classic "Laura" for his "Shutter Island" collaborators, Scorsese showed them Tourneur's "Out of the Past." "That is fascinating to me because of the web that's spun around the character, who is played by Robert Mitchum, by these different people - Jane Greer's character, Kirk Douglas. It's this incredible journey or voyage we take, as a viewer, through this world and through this puzzle and this labyrinth until finally, he's got to pay. It's a movie that, for some reason, I keep watching repeatedly and I can't really tell you where the beginning, the middle and the end are. It seems to be new every time. You're caught in this web, a dreamlike web. People seem to be one thing and they turn out to be another.

I love every single one of Dennis Lehane's books - (and Shutter Island was really good). I love Scorsese's films. I love classic film noir. And oh yeah, do you like Milton and Dante?

The director and his design team root the film's world in reality, the archaic-feeling early '50s, although Scorsese cops to some cinematic sleight of hand (spoilers if revealed here) to keep the audience off balance. Those choices, however, are still honest within the story's psychology. But though the sets are realistic, some feel nightmarish, one of the asylum's wards recalling M.C. Escher, Milton and Dante. "I was reading 'Paradise Lost' and also 'The Divine Comedy.' So we took those elements, the tone, particularly the Escher drawings, as a starting point at the Great Hall at Ward C and of course the wrought-iron walkways in Ward C he's on at one point in the piece. These were specifically worked out that way ... But that's the nature of this poor young man being taken through this world. He opens a door, he could be opening it into outer space for all he knows."

These external shows, the sound, the editing are calculated to express the inner turmoil depicted in the story, making the film a true descendant of Expressionist works past, a three-dimensional puzzle.

"It was a Rubik's Cube by the time I got into shooting it - and in the editing, there's no doubt. So when I say I 'abandoned' the movie, it's sort of with relief - that I finished it. The state of mind is a very hard one to stay in," Scorsese says. "This was a major challenge, to make something that looks like a film, a real movie in a way, that has lineage to noir and thrillers and that sort of thing, but becomes something else. And if you look at the film a second time or a third time, you'll see the second picture. And this was a big challenge, I thought."

I don't know if this is all going to work out perfectly for the film. But how often do you get someone trying to combine all of these elements into one modern-day film? Not often.

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I'm hoping I like this one. I love the look of it all.

I can't really say I'm a Scorcese fan. I find him terribly overrated, and his supposed masterpieces don't really win me over. Sure, I like TAXI DRIVER, but even then I find its reputation somewhat unwarranted.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Todd McCarthy @ Variety:

Expert, screw-turning narrative filmmaking put at the service of old-dark-madhouse claptrap, "Shutter Island" arguably occupies a similar place in Martin Scorsese's filmography as "The Shining" does in Stanley Kubrick's. In his first dramatic feature since "The Departed," Scorsese applies his protean skill and unsurpassed knowledge of Hollywood genres to create a dark, intense thriller involving insanity, ghastly memories, mind-alteration and violence, all wrapped in a story about the search for a missing patient at an island asylum. A topnotch cast headed by Leonardo DiCaprio looks to lead this Paramount release, postponed from its original opening date last fall to Feb. 19, to muscular returns in all markets.

As Kubrick did with Stephen King's novel, Scorsese uncustomarily ventures here into bestseller territory that obliges him to deliver certain expected ingredients for the mass audience and adhere to formula more than has been his nature over the years. Although "The Departed" and "Cape Fear" come close, "Shutter Island" is the film that most forces the director to walk the straight and narrow in terms of carefully and clearly telling a story; if testing himself within that discipline was his intention, this most devoted of cinema students among major American directors gets an "A." . . .

This is high-end popcorn fare adorned with a glittering pedigree by a powerhouse cast and crew. . . .

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Glenn Kenny:

So all things being equal, even the most devoted of Scorsese fans couldn't necessarily be blamed for expecting little beyond a very very grand piece of Guignol, with inimitable style and panache but maybe not so much resonance. So I am thoroughly happy to report that, to my eyes and ears at least, Shutter Island is, in the Godardian formulation, a vrai Scorsese film, in its way the most fully realized personal work of the Scorsese-DiCaprio collabs, a puzzle picture that, as it puts its plot pieces together, climbs to a crescendo that aims to reach that perfect note of empathetic despair we haven't seen/heard in a Hollywood picture since Vertigo. I think it very nearly gets there. . . .

Curiouser and curiouser it grows, with new elements thrown into the labyrinth of a storyline even as others are peeled...not quite away but a little bit down, as it were. The ornate dream sequences are particularly knotty, and long, and in the many scenes of horror Scorsese pushes the imagery in ways we haven't expected of him in a while. Indeed, I imagine certain arbiters of supposed good taste will find much to object to here. It's unsettling stuff. But there's also a lushness to it all, a powerful Powell-Pressburger feel to both the cinematography (some of Robert Richardson's richest work, and this guy knows from richness) and the production design (by Dante Ferretti, who's just as unleashed as Richardson, as it were). For all the film's seriousness of purpose, you can sense where Scorsese's having a bit of fun with the genre and with references. I was a little surprised to see such a powerful influence from The Shining (and not just in the music, which, like that of Kubrick's film, is largely culled from contemporary classical masters such as Penderecki and Ligeti, and is massively powerful all the way through); less so the nods to Psycho, Lewton and Robson's Bedlam, Preminger's Laura, and many more classics.

But it's what's going on underneath all these surfaces, and the myriad plot twists, that gives this picture its greatest pull. Even more than Raging Bull, Shutter Island can be read as a feature-length remake of Scorsese's harrowing 1969 short The Big Shave: it's a chronicle of a man who simply cannot stop hurting himself, cutting himself open. And as such I found it terribly moving. Without going into too much detail, the thing about Shutter Island that frightened me the most (and it frightened me plenty) was what it told me about what I was doing with my own life. I don't expect—and certainly don't hope—that it will work on all that many viewers in that particular way, but I still feel it's definitely a more powerful, and Scorsesian, experience than your garden-variety big budget frightfest.

Meanwhile, David Hudson isn't sure what to make of the film, but he concludes: "Perhaps - and this is my hope - Shutter Island simply can't be fully appreciated until seen a second or third time."

And in this other corner, Jeffrey Wells grouses: "That's all well and good, but without story tension -- which Shutter Island utterly lacks -- the viewer is stuck in a theatrical asylum watching masterful Marty technique, masterful Marty technique and more masterful Marty technique."

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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Just returned from a screening of Shutter Island and my first reaction is that this is my favorite of the DiCaprio/Scorsese collaborations. Quite an effective genre piece.

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It's an extraordinary film in many ways, but one I'm not settled on. It's taxing, maybe too long, and I'm going back-and-forth on the issue of whether

it's appropriate to put an audience through what the main character experiences, especially in his final flashback, where he confronts the full horror of his earlier experience, only to then see him REGRESS in the coda!

I don't remember that coda from the book, but I'll take another look at it today. Perhaps

we're supposed to see the main character through the doctor's eyes, and to feel his frustration, although the film is mainly through Teddy's eyes, so I'm not sure that can be justified

.

I was quite taken with the visual design of the film, and with Teddy's flashback sequences, as they grew grislier. It's these elements, after a night's sleep, that remain, and which make me want to see the film again. Not to experience all that horror, but to see how the filmmakers brought it to life, so to speak.

This has to be the darkest studio film I can remember seeing. It won't be a popular "date night" movie!

Edited by Christian

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It's an extraordinary film in many ways, but one I'm not settled on. It's taxing, maybe too long, and I'm going back-and-forth on the issue of whether

it's appropriate to put an audience through what the main character experiences, especially in his final flashback, where he confronts the full horror of his earlier experience, only to then see him REGRESS in the coda!

I don't remember that coda from the book, but I'll take another look at it today. Perhaps

we're supposed to see the main character through the doctor's eyes, and to feel his frustration, although the film is mainly through Teddy's eyes, so I'm not sure that can be justified.

In regards to the coda, I think I understand it differently than you do

I do not beleive he actually regresses but is fully aware of what is going to happen to him. I believe his line about it being better to die a good man than live as a monster is the clue. He makes a decision to be lobotimized so he does not have to remember what he has been through.

This has to be the darkest studio film I can remember seeing. It won't be a popular "date night" movie!

Funny that you should say that because I saw this last night with my wife who is generally sensitive to dark and grisly movies and she was raving about it as we left the theatre. I think I felt the film was darker than she did.

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RJ: You are right about that final scene! I had mis-remembered it this morning. Thanks for the clarification.

And that's funny about your wife's reaction. Just curious: Do you guys have kids? My wife would be traumatized by the film, but that would've been true before we started a family. Still, I imagine women will have a difficult time with the film.

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In regards to the coda, I think I understand it differently than you do

I do not beleive he actually regresses but is fully aware of what is going to happen to him. I believe his line about it being better to die a good man than live as a monster is the clue. He makes a decision to be lobotimized so he does not have to remember what he has been through.

As far as I can remember, that was the thrust of the book as well. Which was surprisingly un-Lehane-like.

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Yes we have two girls ages 8 and 6. She did say that the ending scene was the most disturbing, but she said she was able to handle it because she distanced her self emotionally from the character at that point. I think the artifice of the movie helps to detach some from the characters emotional turmoil.

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