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Shutter Island

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Here's an interview with the principals, including the screenwriter. It concludes with a question about the ending:

Q. Without spoiling the end, some people feel the conclusion is left on an ambiguous note. Was that a specific choice on your part?

Kalogridis: It's ironic because to me the ending is not ambiguous at all, although a lot of people come out of it feeling that. The final shot was filmed a couple of different ways which added ambiguity that was later removed. The book is its own animal and [the film] ending is somewhat different from the book but for me the spirit of the story took me to a very particular place in my relationship with Teddy as a reader, about who I thought he was. And to me [in the film] that's who I thought he was.

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I didn't feel any ambiguity in the ending, and I probably wouldn't refer to this as a "dark" film. I did feel Hitch all over it, from the pounding strings in the score right from the start, to the rocks and the cliffs of North By Northwest to the lighthouse of Vertigo. I don't think of DiCaprio as the new De Niro, but here he pulls off a great James Stewart, and that was a load of fun.

It was so Hitch it felt like it had "homage" written all over it. Which is fine, in fact it's great. Who better to riff on, right?

It's a great film compared to the rest of the films that will no doubt be released in the six weeks prior to this as well as six weeks post. (Maybe even more weeks post, we'll see.) Unfortunately for Scorsese, he is Scorsese, and we don't compare him to other releases as much as we compare him to himself. He's already had his masterpiece, in fact he's probably had two or three. This isn't one of them, but it is undoubtedly another great time at one of his shows.

I disagree with the "Leonardo ain't grizzled enough" lines I've been seeing. I didn't think much of him years ago. He was a pretty boy and he did his thing, and that was fine. Lately he's taken on roles that were brilliant for him at this time in his career -- Revolutionary Road is brilliant in its entire casting, even outside of a wonderful performance from Leo. But he seems to be pushing himself as he ages, and I like it. You don't hear much from him outside of his acting, he seems to keep a low profile, and then when you see him on the screen -- Bam. He is very capable, indeed, I can't remember a low from him yet. He's starting to become one of my favorite actors.

Oh! And Max von Sydow. Bergman link! Bergman link! Great to see him here, wonderful as always.

Same with Kingsley and Ruffalo.

Edited by Persona

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FWIW, I've been hearing such overwhelmingly positive things about this film -- notably that it is "the best" of the Scorsese-DiCaprio collaborations (and thus the best Scorsese film in over a decade) -- that I was a little surprised to come across this, via Lou Lumenick:

"Shutter Island'' is rating only 65 percent positive reviews (48 among "cream of the crop'' critics) at Rotten Tomatoes, Scorsese's worst score since "Bringing Out the Dead'' (which got a 71) was DOA for Paramount in 1999.

Where are all these negative reviews coming from? I'm aware of a few, but hadn't realized they were so pronounced.

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"Shutter Island'' is rating only 65 percent positive reviews (48 among "cream of the crop'' critics) at Rotten Tomatoes, Scorsese's worst score since "Bringing Out the Dead'' (which got a 71) was DOA for Paramount in 1999.

I don't understand this sentence. 65 is worse than 71. When you say that X is the worst since Y, shouldn't Y be worse than X? If nothing is worse than X, then X is the worst ever, not the worst since something.

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FWIW, I've been hearing such overwhelmingly positive things about this film -- notably that it is "the best" of the Scorsese-DiCaprio collaborations (and thus the best Scorsese film in over a decade)

I do not agree with that sentiment. At all. But as I pointed out, he is only going to be compared to himself at this point, which is a mark of greatness. And I don't feel like Shutter Island is a dud. It was quite good. Not as good as The Departed. I think I may have even enjoyed The Aviator more. But who's going to nit pick a great film against a great film? What's better -- Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, or Goodfellas. To only compare the greatness of such films is rather trivial.

(Against that backdrop Shutter Island looks more like Cape Fear, FWIW.)

Edited by Persona

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Not as good as The Departed.

Uh-oh. I didn't really care for THE DEPARTED.

What's better -- Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, or Goodfellas.

Easy. TAXI DRIVER. ;)

Anyway, I'll be seeing SHUTTER ISLAND tomorrow. As I said before, I'm not a Scorsese fan, but I've had a good time with many of his films. I'm hoping I enjoy SHUTTER ISLAND. I need something to wash the bad taste of THE WOLFMAN out of my mouth.

Edited by Ryan H.

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You've read this far so I'll just tell you: look for more Hitch and let us know what you find. It might be quite enjoyable from that perspective.

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You've read this far so I'll just tell you: look for more Hitch and let us know what you find. It might be quite enjoyable from that perspective.

I do hope so. I certainly had a boatload of fun picking out all the Hitchcock homages in Scorsese's Hitchcock-styled Freixenet commercial.

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You've read this far so I'll just tell you: look for more Hitch and let us know what you find. It might be quite enjoyable from that perspective.

The first time I read that, I honestly thought you were talking about the Will Smith/Kevin James romantic comedy Hitch.

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Just got back from seeing it. I wonder if I would have experienced the film differently if I had not heard, or sensed, that there was some sort of twist at the end. I wonder this because I basically guessed the twist within the first, oh, minute. And my guess turned out to be correct, more or less.

Granted, there were lots of DETAILS that I didn't guess, and the film keeps twisting and turning and turning and twisting with regard to those details. But the basic, underlying thing? Can't say it was a surprise at all.

The tip-off, in case anyone's wondering, was this:

Leo's on the boat with Ruffalo and he can't remember what happened to his smokes (he thought he put them in his jacket...), so Ruffalo gives him some cigarettes instead. If THAT doesn't suggest that Leo has just embarked on a new reality-within-a-reality, then I don't know WHAT does.

FWIW, within that first minute, I also guessed that Ruffalo might be a figment of Leo's imagination, perhaps even a double or extension of Leo, and I guess I was sort-of wrong about THAT. But only sort of. Ruffalo really WAS there, but it was all "role-playing"; he was playing a character in Leo's alternate reality that didn't really exist.

And yes, that was all before they had even gotten off the boat.

I wouldn't be averse to seeing the film a second time, though, now that I know how all the pieces fit together. I can think of a number of scenes that might take on new meaning in light of the subsequent revelations.

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Just got back from seeing it. I wonder if I would have experienced the film differently if I had not heard, or sensed, that there was some sort of twist at the end. I wonder this because I basically guessed the twist within the first, oh, minute. And my guess turned out to be correct, more or less...

I wouldn't be averse to seeing the film a second time, though, now that I know how all the pieces fit together. I can think of a number of scenes that might take on new meaning in light of the subsequent revelations.

I had those feelings too, and pretty much the same reaction.

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Not as good as The Departed.

Uh-oh. I didn't really care for THE DEPARTED.

Compared to the film it's remaking, I pretty much agree.

What's better -- Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, or Goodfellas.

Easy. TAXI DRIVER. ;)

I wholeheartedly agree.

I don't think Scorsese's made a film I would have nominated for Best Picture since The Age of Innocence, and even that film has its flaws. There are moments of such mastery in Gangs of New York that it makes that big mess of a movie that much more frustrating, and I enjoyed The Aviator in fits and starts. I'm grateful for Bob Dylan: No Direction Home, and GoodFellas is admirable (but overrated). But frankly, I haven't wholeheartedly loved a Scorsese movie since After Hours, and I don't think he's made a film worthy of, say, a Roger Ebert "Great Movies" distinction since Raging Bull. Taxi Driver reigns supreme.

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Just got back from seeing it. I wonder if I would have experienced the film differently if I had not heard, or sensed, that there was some sort of twist at the end. I wonder this because I basically guessed the twist within the first, oh, minute. And my guess turned out to be correct, more or less...

I wouldn't be averse to seeing the film a second time, though, now that I know how all the pieces fit together. I can think of a number of scenes that might take on new meaning in light of the subsequent revelations.

I had those feelings too, and pretty much the same reaction.

Yeah, there were lines I heard that allude to what Teddy's going through that really jumped out at me, having read the book. I couldn't remember if those lines were in the book, or specific to the movie, but they were tips to what's really going on. Subsequent viewings will help determine if these are clunky or clever.

I liked this film very much but am somewhat sympathetic to critics who believe the tone may have gotten away from Scorcese at points. I did think the film might have meandered a bit as it approached the finale. I don't know if there are too many digressions, or the introduction of too many supporting characters (those performances are one of the film's strengths, but the accumulation of minor characters may weigh a bit on a sense of momentum as things come to a head). This is, perhaps, a matter of expectation. I feel like, as one quoted critical excerpt alleges, the film should be turning the screws tighter and tighter as it goes, but my experience was that the screws loosened a bit, or simply stopped tightening for short stretches toward the end. That's not a huge criticism, but it's not altogether insignificant, depending on what you want the movie to do. The drawn out

final flashback also was too much -- too much imagery of dead children, for too long

although I appreciated that

Teddy needed to face the full horror of what he'd gone through earlier

. I just wonder if we, the audience, needed to face it to the same extent.

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Yowzers! Am I wrong to think this movie will drop precipitously next weekend? The bigger the gross this weekend, the likelier the chances of a big drop, I guess, but I'll be really surprised if word of mouth on this film isn't at least somewhat negative. Whatever one thinks of the quality of the film, it's SUCH a downer, and I still can't believe women like it, although RJkolb has proved me wrong!:)

Paramount's delay of Shutter Island's domestic release from 2009 to 2010, once widely questioned, now looks shrewdly strategic. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone), the psychological and supernatural thriller should make $13.5 million today from 2,991 theaters and $35+M for its debut on a weekend it has all to itself. That's a big number for an R-rated film that cost only $75 million net of the Massachusetts rebate. ...

Sources tell me this 4th film collaboration between Marty Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio will be their highest-grossing debut ever, bigger than 2002's Gangs Of New York, 2004's The Aviator, and 2006's The Departed (which posted their previous biggest opening ever of $26.8M). That pic was also Scorsese's best debut, now beaten by Shutter Island which will also be DiCaprio's biggest, besting the $30M of 2002's Steven Spielberg-directed Catch Me If You Can.

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I figured it out pretty early on, though it was still fun to see how all the pieces ended up fitting in.

Did it remind anyone else of

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari? (I've seen the original 1919 German one, as well as the one starring Doug Jones from 2005 that reused all the backgrounds from the German version. Apparently there's another one that was made in 1962, which I haven't seen.) Not sure if this really needed a spoiler tag, but if you've seen Caligari but not Shutter Island, I think the comparison would make it pretty easy to guess Shutter Island's twist.

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I enjoyed SHUTTER ISLAND. It's certainly one of the stronger genre exercises from recent years, and probably my personal favorite of the Scorsese output of the last decade. I think DiCaprio handles the material quite well indeed, and the film does a fairly good job of handling its twist, even if the twist is a bit on the predictable side. I definitely appreciated the use of classical music (I'm downloading the soundtrack as I write this).

Complaints? Well, I tend to think Scorsese edited the film too tightly, or rather, that he used too many edits. The film was just the right length, but there were many atmospheric shots that would have benefited from an extra second or two. I daresay some of the stranger imagery could have afforded even more Lynchian flair. The film never felt quite as unhinged and unsettled as it wanted to be.

Yowzers! Am I wrong to think this movie will drop precipitously next weekend? The bigger the gross this weekend, the likelier the chances of a big drop, I guess, but I'll be really surprised if word of mouth on this film isn't at least somewhat negative. Whatever one thinks of the quality of the film, it's SUCH a downer, and I still can't believe women like it, although RJkolb has proved me wrong!:)

My fiancee really, really enjoyed it, and it also seemed that the other women at my screening were having a great time, and walked out with lots of enthusiastic chatter. Given what I'd heard about SHUTTER ISLAND, I actually expected it to be darker. Yes, the final reveal and ending is quite dark, but that kind of scene isn't entirely unanticipated. Regarding next weekend's box office, I suspect that there won't be such a sharp drop, and that word of mouth will carry this film to an admirable take. The film deserves it, too; it's pretty good.

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A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips of At The Movies both gave it a thumbs down* last night, mostly on the basis that it is predictable and that they saw the "twist" coming from a mile away.

Is there some kind of an M. Night code of conduct to Shutter Island that I'm missing? I honestly didn't feel the "twist" was as important as the mood. In fact, dare I say, it didn't have a twist and that's a poor scale to measure it on.

* oops sorry, that would be "Skip It," as the thumbs are some kind of patent still held by Roger

Edited by Persona

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Is there some kind of an M. Night code of conduct to Shutter Island that I'm missing? I honestly didn't feel the "twist" was as important as the mood.

Agreed. And while the central twist was a bit expected, I thought the final twist (included in the last scene) more than made it all worthwhile.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Is there some kind of an M. Night code of conduct to Shutter Island that I'm missing? I honestly didn't feel the "twist" was as important as the mood.

Agreed. And while the central twist was a bit expected, I thought the final twist (included in the last scene) more than made it all worthwhile.

Do you mean

that Teddy/Andrew wasn't really cured

or that

they really did brain surgeries on the island?

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Is there some kind of an M. Night code of conduct to Shutter Island that I'm missing? I honestly didn't feel the "twist" was as important as the mood.

Agreed. And while the central twist was a bit expected, I thought the final twist (included in the last scene) more than made it all worthwhile.

Do you mean

that Teddy/Andrew wasn't really cured

or that

they really did brain surgeries on the island?

Neither. I mean the revelation that

Teddy/Andrew *was* cured, but was going to pretend that he had regressed into insanity because he wanted to have the lobotomy done so he didn't have to live with his grief.

Brilliant final narrative maneuver.

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Is there some kind of an M. Night code of conduct to Shutter Island that I'm missing? I honestly didn't feel the "twist" was as important as the mood.

Agreed. And while the central twist was a bit expected, I thought the final twist (included in the last scene) more than made it all worthwhile.

Do you mean

that Teddy/Andrew wasn't really cured

or that

they really did brain surgeries on the island?

Neither. I mean the revelation that

Teddy/Andrew *was* cured, but was going to pretend that he had regressed into insanity because he wanted to have the lobotomy done so he didn't have to live with his grief.

Brilliant final narrative maneuver.

Um, okay. How did you get to that conclusion?

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That was the conclusion I got to as well. I've already forgotten the film though, so I can't remember why.

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mean the revelation that

Teddy/Andrew *was* cured, but was going to pretend that he had regressed into insanity because he wanted to have the lobotomy done so he didn't have to live with his grief.

Brilliant final narrative maneuver.

Um, okay. How did you get to that conclusion?

Three things.

1. The nervous, suspicious look in Teddy/Andrew's eyes, which has been present throughout every moment in the film previous, was gone in that final scene. He was talking the talk, but his eyes were sad. He's given up the fictional role of the determined hero.

2. His line, "Is it better to die a good man than live a monster?" (The real tip-off.)

3. The docile, calm, and resigned way in which Teddy/Andrew moves to walk with the doctors towards his lobotomy.

Edited by Ryan H.

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That was the conclusion I got to as well. I've already forgotten the film though, so I can't remember why.

When they were in the lighthouse, Ben Kingsley said that Teddy/Andrew had a breakthrough followed by a relapse before, so I assumed that what was happening again at the end.

I guess I see how Ryan's interpretation could be right, just not that it necessarily has to be, unless there was something I missed.

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