Set in the 1950’s, two federal marshals’ detective Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) and detective Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) comes to an isolated maximum security prison for the clinically insane called Shutter Island. It is home to the most dangerous, deluded, and unstable prisoners in the penal system. The two detectives are in search of a murderess that has mysteriously disappeared from her cell. However detective Teddy Daniels is a man ravaged by grief and haunted by the violence he witnessed as a servicemen during the Second World War, this resulting in Shutter Island becoming a place where his own sanity is questioned.
Just like most Scorsese’s films, his protagonists are stricken with moral confusion and men on the brink of insanity. Characters like his Taxi Driver Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) or Bringing Out the Dead ambulance driver Frank Pierce (Nicolas Cage) are in a world of violence and hate. They alienate themselves from the world that they seem sick of. In Shutter Island our traumatised protagonist Teddy Daniels pushes himself in search of answers but instead discovers haunted visions of his dead wife. Shutter Island is a film of self-discovery and acceptances of a detective that embarks on a story of his own past, engaging in elements of psychological thriller, film noir and gothic horror.
Shutter Island is an outstanding mystery narrative that follows Teddy on a journey of collecting clues, interviewing hospital staff and mentally unstable inmates. The story slowly unravels a series of deceptions and treachery. The ending is the most powerful, stunning, heart breaking, gut wrecking and climatic scenes in the film which explores the true depth of Teddy’s self-discovery. Shutter Island generates such a real and raw suspense which creates authentic moods, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Even though Shutter Island was ridiculed for a twist that everyone got half way through the film. Shutter Island main focus is centred not on the twist but rather the unstable protagonists battling with grief, wrapped with a disturbing tragedy and inner demons; the key component, for a Martin Scorsese film.