Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shutter Island

Once again, I choose to open this review with another confession. For the last several months I’ve been parading around on this website, waxing philosophic and bragging that I’m some big, badass movie nut. That I, more so than you, know what good movies are all about. Which is true, obviously. But, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that, despite all my bold statements and broad assumptions about the art of film, I have not seen most of Scorcese’s movies. And probably never will.

Yeah. And what are you gonna do about it, huh? I’ll tell you what... Nothing!

Because, much like my argument on foreign films, there are just too many damn movies out there. And, while I’m sure that Raging Bull and Goodfellas are great movies, I’ve just got too much shit to do. So get off my back already.


However, I feel, this puts me at an advantage when it comes to reviewing Shutter Island. Since I don’t have this echelon of expectations for Mr. Martin, I can look at a new movie with a fresh set of eyes and see it for what it is, and what it should be viewed as: a new movie. Rather than the next chapter in some director’s legendary career. This is a barrier I find myself always needing to conquer with most newer Coen Bros movies.

Shutter Island was a refreshingly good movie. I haven’t seen a movie like it in a long time. Well directed, beautifully shot, disturbingly (but not gratuitously) violent, containing well thought out characters living through a well thought out story. Nothing earth-shattering. Just a good, honest movie that was consistently fun to watch.

Personally, the best part about the movie was its lack of attempts to be earth-shattering. I would like to believe that Scorcese recognizes the fact that his day of changing the medium are done. So now he’s just comfortable to recline in his director’s chair and make good movies. Not great, but good. An important distinction. The pretension of most films attempting to be great is what turns me off of the “Adult Drama” genre in the first place. The chance of a director actually blowing my mind are pretty rare. More often than not I end up losing interest and wish I was doing something else. Like, say, watching a better movie. I think this is what’s kept me away from most Scorcese pics in the first place.

Sure, I saw Taxi Driver. I got the point. Social commentary and so on. But it was, by no means, a fun movie to watch. And I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. Shutter Island on the other hand could easily warrant another viewing. After the twist inevitably reveals itself, even I didn’t want to believe it, because I was so invested in the protagonist’s wellbeing. But a lot of that was due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting ability. He has officially bridged the gap from teen heartthrob to serious actor. And this is the movie that finalized it.

Congrats Leo. You’ve come a long way. Baby.

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