I’m very glad I saw Inception for a number of reasons – it made me realise that Marion Cotillard is a goddess of the movies but it also made me re-evaluate an actor that I’ve struggled with since the sinking days of Titanic – Leo DiCaprio. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to like him. I saw him in LA, driving a spectacular car around Beverly Hills and smiling at the staring crowds of smoothie drinkers (I only say that as I was drinking a smoothie at the time). Before, if I saw a film with Leo in it, I would be watching it for someone else. But now, Leo Di Caprio has, at last for me, grown into himself. No longer has he the face of a cheeky youngster in movies he’s out of time with. Now he’s come into his own. With a full and new faith in him, I saw Shutter Island this evening. I was not disappointed.
Shutter Island has so much going for it. Not only Leo DiCaprio, but Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson, John Carroll Lynch (two of whom starred in one of my favourite films, David Fincher’s Zodiac). With actors of this calibre and a fine director to boot (Martin Scorsese), it’s no surprise that Shutter Island presents atmosphere and story in equal measure.
Marshall Teddy Daniels and partner Chucke Aule arrive on prison island, Shutter Island, to investigate the disappearance of a patient, Rachel, who drowned her three children and refuses to accept the reality of her situation. Ben Kinglsey and Max von Sydow are the psychiatrists in charge of 66 (or 67) patients who may or may not be the victim of dreadful experiments performed in the lighthouse on the edge of the cliffs. A hurricance shuts down the island, removing its only link from the mainland, the ferry. As the storm rages and trees fall, Daniels finds himself in another state of mind entirely.
The twists and turns will make you doubt your own understanding of the film, just as Daniels goes through his own mental agonies. But as we, with him, work our way through the maze, littered with paths through the horrors of WW2, the film will produce increasing surprises until an ending that will make you sit up and hold up your hands and you’ll try to work through each step again.
The acting, which is sensational, is matched by stunning cinematography, colours and moods. And, satisfyingly for a movie of this long length, puzzles galore.
I have no doubt that I’ll make a point of seeing Leo’s next film, although I do hope that it doesn’t feature a reproachful dead wife. That’ll make a change for him and us, I imagine. In the meanwhile, if you haven’t seen Shutter Island, do.