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Shutter Island


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#81 Ryan H.

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:47 AM

Let's see if a second viewing makes me change my mind on this.

A second viewing sure made me change my mind about its merits. And then a third attempted viewing only confirmed my feelings. Man, SHUTTER ISLAND is dull on repeat viewings.

There are many classics which mit with mixed reactions initially, but I have a hard time seeing SHUTTER ISLAND overcoming that to become something beloved and treasured. It has some nice visuals, sure, albeit nothing breathtaking. The story is all so very so-so, and the characters aren't very memorable or interesting. I'm betting it spends the rest of its days shelved alongside Scorsese's CAPE FEAR.

Edited by Ryan H., 08 February 2011 - 11:54 AM.


#82 Judo Chop

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:12 PM

Let's see if a second viewing makes me change my mind on this.

A second viewing sure made me change my mind about its merits. And then a third attempted viewing only confirmed my feelings. Man, SHUTTER ISLAND is dull on repeat viewings.

There are many classics which mit with mixed reactions initially, but I have a hard time seeing SHUTTER ISLAND overcoming that to become something beloved and treasured. It has some nice visuals, sure, albeit nothing breathtaking. The story is all so very so-so, and the characters aren't very memorable or interesting. I'm betting it spends the rest of its days shelved alongside Scorsese's CAPE FEAR.

But probably stationed a full shelf closer to eye-level than last year's winner, THE HURT LOCKER.

To be honest, Ryan, I'm surprised you went back for a second helping, much less a third. Dullness doesn't usually get better with repeat viewings. Was it some kind of hope/trust you have in Scorsese that sent you back for more?

#83 Ryan H.

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 06:30 PM

Well, I did like SHUTTER ISLAND the first time around. It was my memory of that first theatrical viewing that had me attempting a third viewing, despite my boredom during the second time around.

#84 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:31 PM

Ryan H. wrote:
: Well, I did like SHUTTER ISLAND the first time around. It was my memory of that first theatrical viewing that had me attempting a third viewing, despite my boredom during the second time around.

Heh. Reminds me of how I found Eyes Wide Shut kind of spellbinding the first time around, then kind of dull the second time around, so I watched it on DVD a little while later to see which way the third viewing would go ... and on THAT occasion, the friend who watched it with me couldn't stop laughing, so it was sort of "neither of the above".

Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 08 February 2011 - 09:32 PM.


#85 Mr. Brown

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 05:24 PM

Nothing mind-blowing, but a solid piece of work compared to the rest of the trash released last year.

It was nice seeing Scorsese making an honest effort.

#86 SDG

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 05:55 PM

Nothing mind-blowing, but a solid piece of work compared to the rest of the trash released last year.

It was nice seeing Scorsese making an honest effort.

IS it "honest," though? "Cheating" is the word used by someone I know, referring to the movie's seemingly arbitrary use of creepy imagery and undisciplined blurring of reality and illusion. It's easy to make the viewer's skin crawl by throwing creepy imagery at the screen, but it's cheap to sprinkle a movie with hallucinations and then provide a profoundly unconvincing explanation in the end. It's worse than an "it was all a dream" ending: It's "it was all a dream" sprinkled liberally throughout the story.

#87 Ryan H.

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:53 PM

Nothing mind-blowing, but a solid piece of work compared to the rest of the trash released last year.

It was nice seeing Scorsese making an honest effort.

IS it "honest," though? "Cheating" is the word used by someone I know, referring to the movie's seemingly arbitrary use of creepy imagery and undisciplined blurring of reality and illusion. It's easy to make the viewer's skin crawl by throwing creepy imagery at the screen, but it's cheap to sprinkle a movie with hallucinations and then provide a profoundly unconvincing explanation in the end. It's worse than an "it was all a dream" ending: It's "it was all a dream" sprinkled liberally throughout the story.

Interesting critique. I shall have to think on this one.

#88 Brian D

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 11:33 PM

On the one hand, I almost couldn't handle some of the flashbacks. They were partly excessive in number, but also in gore. My "recoil" reaction is surely in part due to the fact that all of the most horrid flashbacks were filmed within 20 miles of where I live. :( Something about seeing your neighborhood up on the screen as a nightmare makes you want to run the other direction.
On the other hand, I'm fascinated by Dicaprio's line at the end of the film and by what the movie reveals about man's utter inability to wall himself off from sin or to keep it from infecting his own soul. Without God's grace, our minds would all be as far gone as those of the inmates in this film.

Edited by Brian D, 25 March 2011 - 11:35 PM.


#89 Persona

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:36 AM

Beautiful thread. Every post.

Strange thing about this film. I thought I was doing a 180, because I went back to the film and rather enjoyed the ride. Turns out, according to what I posted earlier, I'm pretty much at the same place. But maybe a little more in the film's camp on a second viewing.

I kinda think there's a lot of brilliance happening here.

#90 Nick Olson

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:05 AM

I need to rewatch. I've only seen it once, and I remember liking it more than most critics.

#91 Anders

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:09 AM

It was my number two film of 2010. I wrote this essay about a year ago to explain some of the reasons I love it so much.

#92 Ryan H.

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:04 PM

It was my number two film of 2010. I wrote this essay about a year ago to explain some of the reasons I love it so much.

You might be interested in some of the comments Scorsese makes about the film in CONVERSATIONS WITH SCORSESE. He makes a few interesting comments about how the story came out of Lehane's anger at the Iraq war, and how Scorsese sees that playing out in the finished film. Scorsese's comments somewhat validate what you saw at work in the film.

FWIW, I haven't revisited SHUTTER ISLAND since that third viewing spoken of above, and I don't think I'd revise my opinion if I did go back to see it. That said, I must concede that SHUTTER ISLAND has some genuinely arresting moments and images. You could make a pretty terrific clip reel out of SHUTTER ISLAND.

Edited by Ryan H., 13 March 2012 - 10:12 PM.


#93 Attica

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:16 PM

[I must concede that SHUTTER ISLAND has many arresting moments that live on in my memory.



The ride with the officer lives on for me. That was just a cool scene, and the officer was just so fascinatingly creepy. Of course that's also one of the scenes that also really works well when I think about it through the "new perspective" gained after knowing the end of film.

Edited by Attica, 13 March 2012 - 10:17 PM.