When “Shutter Island” was first released, I found it off-putting and phony through and through. I’m not really sure what other movie I may have watched that time, because this time, I found myself completely immersed and fascinated by it. Maybe it helps to know the ending beforehand, and perhaps “Shutter Island” is one of those movies that actually needs a second watch in order to truly land and register, not unlike “The Usual Suspects” or “Fight Club,” for example. As a matter of fact, while going over the movie’s events in my head this time and assembling them in a complete puzzle, realizing that it pretty much all comes together in the end was a genuine thrill. There’s also the movie’s look and feel: Martin Scorsese manages to make the island itself feel like a menacing presence the minute the movie begins, which is exacerbated by poor weather and an ominous score, and the whole movie just looks absolutely amazing, like something out of a ’40s Jacques Tourneur horror movie. But what seals the deal and makes the movie work as well as it does is the acting: This is really a showcase for top-tier talent all around with knockout performances by everyone, in particular Patricia Clarkson *who shines in a one-scene appearance) and leading man Leonardo DiCaprio; in my opinion this is some of his best work ever, and he’s instrumental in making the movie click.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)