Ferocious rains, howling winds and falling branches brings in an unforgiving Massachusetts hurricane that mirrors the intensity of Teddy Daniels and his “defense mechanisms” as he searches for truth on Shutter Island. A story of human tragedy in the midst of the barbaric Cold War era medicine creates empathy and fear in the seats filled with movie goers. Martin Scorsese seems to have a knack for opening the mind of the psychologically damaged and making sense of the stream of consciousness that exists in the character. We have seen this in movies like Taxi Driver, The Aviator and The Last Temptation of Christ, where Scorsese brings the onlooker to the screen with voyeuristic intent for the life and mind of his main character.
The scores of talented and larger than life actors that Scorsese has worked with may create an impressive resume, but it stands to reason that Leonardo DiCaprio was the only choice for the character of Teddy Daniels. Watching DiCaprio through the years there isn’t a question of his talent and ability. Teddy Daniels permits DiCaprio to use all of his abilities in order to bring the character to life. He portrays a broken man in the midst of a mystery while believably maintaining innocence to the destruction around him. Only a master of his craft could achieve such a thing and though he is a man DiCaprio still has the eyes of an innocent child that draw you in to Teddy and what he may have seen. Haunting, mesmerizing, and unforgettable DiCaprio stole the show.
The beauty and the horror of Shutter Island became detrimentally effective with the score. The soundtrack is dark, supernatural and at the same time all too familiar when orchestrating Teddy’s painful existence and the suffering he cannot escape. The music compliments the movie as a character in itself prompting memories, ghostly apparitions and curious reactions while the cast continues to play out this tale that anyone who has felt detached in this mortal coil can relate and drown with. As the ash falls the music engulfs and light swallows the audience into the world of a hopelessly damaged man with classical works and experimental contribution.
The beauty of storytelling, the importance of music, and the spectacular depiction of a man lost in his mystery makes Shutter Island a must see at the theater and an experience in the way film should be made. Though the trailer completely misrepresents the actual movie, once the movie begins there is no sense of trickery or loss, just the empathy and delightful horror of walking through this investigation with Teddy Daniels as he brings you through the storm and the lies to reveal what many know and others have forgotten, hidden and trapped in plain sight on Shutter Island.