Monday 15 March 2010

Shutter Island

Back in October, when Shutter Island was originally to be released before being pushed back for unfathomable reasons, I wrote the following paragraph:

And guess what? I was nearly right. It is a psychological / supernatural nuttyfest, it does star Leonardo DiCaprio's big, constipated face and it does have some nipple-twistingly insane camera moves. It is not, however, cracking.

It's entertaining, but it goes on forever and DiCaprio's mush, constantly contorted in apparent sphincter-clenching agony, is in every single scene. Even his own Mum would get fed up of having to look at him for that long. Try staring at this picture for 138 minutes; that's what Shutter Island is like.

Martin Scorsese, the apparently infallible genius who hasn't actually made a great film since Goodfellas (unless you count that wine advert), aims for something a little bit Kubricky and a little bit Hitchcocky here, but ends up falling short of both. It feels a bit like The Shining meets Vertigo, and while (to me at least) that sounds like the most perfect film that could ever exist, Shutter Island is nowhere near as good as either. Its scary bits aren't scary enough, its plot twists too predictable (if you haven't guessed the ending in the first half hour you're a pathetic, hopeless failure) and its final act seems to last as long as most films' total running time.

So what is essentially a standard thriller is livened up no end by Scorsese's kinetic camera, but that's where the magic ends. You can't take a film seriously when it includes an embarassingly cliched use of anagrams or a scene in which a character wastes an entire box of matches trying to see better in an already perfectly well-lit corridor.

Anyway I've gone and done it again; banged on about a film's bad bits and made it sound like I hated it. I didn't hate it. It was just alright, like so many other films. And from Martin Scorsese, that's not good enough.

What Cineworld Enfield Did To Annoy Me This Time
Screen 9 has the noisiest projector in the known universe. It was like having someone waving one of those old wooden clackery rattles people used to take to football games in 'the good old days' for the entire duration of the film. Unbelievable.

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  1. Coincidentally, my last two posts were a Shutter Island review heavily involving DiCaprio's visage and a short story about a noisy projector.

    I think we have different takes on both, but have a read if you can be arsed:

    Shutter Island:

    Noisy Projector:

  2. Personally, i loved it but yours is the best "meh" review of it I've read.

  3. Dear The Incredible Suit viewers, you should read both of those guyses' blogs. Consider that an endorsement.

  4. Mr Suit,
    I think I may have found a film that might brake even your ennui of 2010 films - Exit Through the Gift Shop! Try some non-fiction for a change. Camera work is dodgy to say the least but it's funny, educational and we get to laugh at the Yanks! I recommend it to you sir.

    Ms So So Jeans

    PS Went to see Blind Side yesterday. Oscar winning performance? Nope, but a good romp. It almost felt like Precious MK II. I read an article on Friday that suggested the heavy use of Botox and surgery had razed the actress category so that Sandra won by default. Quite possibly true…..

  5. "Screen 9 has the noisiest projector in the known universe. It was like having someone waving one of those old wooden clackery rattles people used to take to football games in 'the good old days' for the entire duration of the film. Unbelievable."

    I think you can agree it's better than getting stabbing the neck wouldn't you say?

    I agree with you and have spent two posts talking about this movies (one a review, and one a defense of the movie despite it's flaws), but you've basically summed up my thoughts on the film as well (althought I couldn't agree less with the statement that Scrosese hasn't made a great movies since Goodfellas.)

    With that, I will take you endorsement and check out those two blogs.

  6. Stupot Richards15 March 2010 at 21:10

    I've been awaiting your review this weekend Mr Suit, as I suspected we may agree that Shutter Island was indeed far from cracking. I was a wee bit tired whilst watching it in fairness but was it just me or was the whole thing not one bit scary and totally hammily acted? DiCaprio, Ruffalo and Kingsley all making poor attempts to out-ham each other in one seen-before scene after another. I was so unimpressed, I must've missed the swoopy amazing camera-work, cos for me it was the most un-Scorsese Scorsese film, like, ever... booooo

  7. SSJ, I intend to see Exit Through The Gift Shop if I can find it on anywhere at a sensible time. Thanks for the tip-off.

    Mike, you're quite right. Even staring at Leo for 2 and a bit hours is better than being stabbed in the neck. Although if I'd been watching that Celine Dion film it might have come as something of a relief.

    Stupot, Ben "Sir Ben" Kingsley is made of 98% ham so little else could be expected. Booooo indeed.

  8. So it should have been called "Noisy Projector Shutter Island" Try to be positive in the Enfield CineWorld. That shutter clatter will drown the noise from the rats crunching the waste popcorn gathering on the floor since the Incredible Suit complained about the cleaning that was taking place during the credits but now not done ever.

    The credits are getting sillier and sillier and longer and longer. They made sense in the last century as a way to prove that you were not telling porkies when you tried to get a job on the basis of your claimed previous experience. IMDB.COM can carry all the credits, who needs to see them projected? Imagine if your car came complete with all credits painted on the bodywork. Loose Exhaust Pipe left undone by Hugh Cares, Leaky Gasket almost tightened by Hava Larf etc... The whole car would be covered. Retaurant menus would have one page for food and ten pages of credits. Peas picked by Refu Gee, Chicken force fed by Mal Ishus...

  9. Credits are useful for finding out actor's names, locations and music credits. That's all. Possibly interesting to see which Divas have their own assistants and stunt bodies.

  10. ...and listening to music that some lowly composer has toiled over for months to compose. Unless some idiot has splodged Celine Dion or Avril Lavigne over the credits.

  11. "Scorsese's kinetic camera." Sergei Eisenstein, did not pan, tilt or track his kinematographic or cine camera (if memory of his films is serving me well). Action took place in the static frame. The camera can be welded to the floor and still be kinetic.

    Sorry! Do you now have a splitting hairdake?