Shutter Island. Martin Scorsese has directed more than 20 feature films in a career spanning 50 years. He has been the most influential English language filmmaker after the great Stanley Kubrick, with his movies not only setting benchmarks in distinctive aspects but also leading Hollywood on a path it never dared to tread on. Like a potter and cinema his piece, he has added ingredients and sublimely shaped them to create his own universally accepted brand of film making.
With the ferocious Silician blood running through him, Scorsese has in the process destroyed the fragile pots that could not stand the test of time, the conventionalities and constraints of mainstream cinema. His work before and after the beginning of the millennium has been highly contrasting, with his subject matter switching to tones that appeal to a wider audience, a more mainstream approach technically. ‘Gangs of New York’ and ‘The Departed’ maybe exceptions, but they have his older themes imbibed in them as a resultant of the primary motives. They never take the center stage and exist only to remind you it’s not a hillbilly ride. Scorsese has lately been shuffling between genres, from ‘Aviator’ (biopic) to ‘Hugo’ (fantasy) or ‘Shutter Island’ (psychological thriller) to ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ (dark comedy), he’s lent every feature his remarkable finesse with some pretty detailing.
The plot, in short
One movie that reserved a tranquil space in my mind is ‘Shutter Island’. Shutter Island frankly was the first movie that made me question my thinking and judgement, and consider the medium of films seriously. It was released the same year as ‘Inception’, with Nolan’s mindbender receiving a mile wider acclaim despite its narrative and structural flaws that irked me a lot on the second watch. Shutter Island is conventional with its linear narrative. It is set in the 50s and stays true to the film noir style of building a mystery; with a curious lead detective shrouded in his own mystery unveiling simultaneously with the plot, frequent flashbacks that disrupt narrative flow, lingering presence of a femme fatale, supporting characters that are embedded with curiosity rather than solutions, tragic universal event preceding the plot that lends a dark or glum ambience (The WW2 in this case) and the use of minimal lighting to create a sort of chiaroscuro (highly contrasting shades with the background sealed in dark that shifts a lot of focus towards the central character). This is mostly because of Scorsese’s confessed love for traditional noir, and he gives a fitting tribute to a genre that is parodied more than its idolized.
*SPOILER ALERT* Pardon me, because the whole movie is filled with symbolism and it is just human to miss out on some of them. To tell you the truth, the visual imagery’s an achievement here and its meaning would differ with change in perspective.
The plot, in detail