Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese has been letting me down for years, helming the sort of film that was roasted in 1992’s The Player, but which still gets made with a straight face in Hollywood and regularly crowned with laurels. It baffles me that the man who was American cinema in the 70s (and who’s demonstrated good cinematic eye through his film preservation society, The Film Foundation) can’t seem to live up to his own reputation. Not since The Last Temptation of Christ (or maybe even Raging Bull, depending on who you ask) have all the parts crystallized in a way deserving of the title Master Director, at least by international standards. Misjudgments of casting, tenor or script have bedeviled Scorsese’s work ever since, rendering supposedly Dramatic scenes silly and supposedly Serious performances laughable. But going into Shutter Island, my expectations were keen. If Scorsese fails (for me at least) at the Dramatic and the Serious when the stakes are as high as they are in movies like Casino or The Departed, weaknesses get nullified when the underbelly genres step in and lower them. Thrillers are especially forgiving to directors who tend to overplay their hands, and the idea of a technician like Scorsese attacking an atmospheric spooker filled me with delight. Here’s a man, after all, who can direct a shot with skill and light a set with mood, who can collect whatever he needs for any project — and whose Cape Fear retread was a more than respectable entry into the genre.

Full review and comments below the fold.