The critic owes Marty an apology. We are not worthy. Thou art really Cinema’s jewel. A Semmangudi that outlived all his contemporary masters and kept at it until a redcam found you.
Shutter Island is the educated classic that only a Scorsese could make. A worthy successor to Goodfellas and the Last temptation of christ, Shutter island is a meditation of immense proportions on the true nature of filmmaking told in a verbal and visual language that would have spoken well to Audiences for Hollywood films from the forties to date.
One somehow associates martin Scorsese with Hitchcock, Howard hawkes, the Noirs and Ernst Lubitsch not Coppola, Speilberg, Lucas,peckinpah’s or lynches, and the angry mid 70’s , while the truth is Scorsese was very much a part of the punk revolution that stuck it to the studio system( the same warner brothers and foxes ) of his day.
Over the last thirty years Marty HAS grown to become a filmmaker that reexamined his Hollywood film watching roots. Films like the Aviator, the Departed, Casino were, it can be argued, regurgitation of Marty’s early creative impulses in Goodfellas, or Mean Streets or New York New York.
And, turns out, He does have it in him to pull out a classic , not from the Post studio 1970’s of Italian mafia or the operatic punk colors from catholic New york as we would imagine, but in a pleasant surprise, from the black and white studio picture of the fifties.
Shutter Island is a delicious and bad for you , 15 pounder of hollywood red meat.
Teddy Daniels (di caprio) has a very ” to have and to have not(hawkes , ’44) ” Sidekick , and is an FBI agent assigned to investigate a missing patient in a mental asylum on a remote and mysterious “shutter island” where , it is rumored the US government is conducting experiments on patients to reach in through their eyes and play with their nerves and make them zombies capable of killing without remorse. As Daniels and sidekick descend on the island, he must wrestle with ghosts, macular degeneration and some very funny goings on on a lighthouse in a remote corner of the island before he can put to rest his inner demons and start planning escape from what has turned out to be an insane asylum for him.
Scorsese’s love for the genre shows through as the very “Acme Radio Theater” dialog plays into the Polanski visuals in redcam blue illusions( Digital color correction has a way of creating shadows out of backgrounds, where images lose outlines and are vague fuzzy cottonballs of color dabbed behind the extremely clear front image, giving the composition a gothic F W Murnau feel. Scorsese’s is the first film I have seen that exploits the weaknesses of redcam compositions to make a consistent visual stylization. (cin: Robert Richardson, who also did besterds and Kill bill) . The awesomely taut screenplay doesn’t quite squeeze the universe to a ball but does, roll it toward some overwhelming question, “If Im crazy do I want to live in an asylum with a lobotomy, or do I want to die like an honorable man”.
Dont we all ask it every day Mr Scorcese?