You gotta love Scorsese's work. If there's one thing you can say about it, it's that he's got range. He has given us just about everything ranging from family friendly adventures ('Hugo') all the way to intense thrillers such as 'Shutter Island'. As far as all the in-between, just look at his IMDb page, as I could be here all day listing off his wonderful work.
'Shutter Island' is Scorsese's take on a pyschological thriller, all while maintaining that crime-related story he's so well-known for. It's just that in this case, it's a creepy mental institution on an island as opposed to, say, the familiar streets of New York. some of the main draws to this film are among the many names attached to the project.
Aside from director Scorsese, it's also helmed by the talents of Leo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley, with great side roles for names like Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams and Jackie Earle Haley. So it's pretty star-studded, and that's not even mentioning a few more perfectly recognizable faces. One might not place this at the top of their Scorsese list, but I can say with all honesty that it's well worth a watch. You just have to sort of ditch the idea of it being a typical Scorsese film. This is one that seemed a little more experimental, teetering on light horror.
For a real quick plot breakdown, things open up in 1954, where U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his new partner, Chuck (Ruffalo) have been assigned to investigate the disappearance of a potentially very dangerous patient. The assignment takes place on Shutter Island, where the US government runs an institution for the criminally insane. Based on his own past experiences, Daniels soon becomes weary that the institution may be doing some pretty abysmal stuff behind closed doors. The film takes a few twists and turns, and keeps you guessing as to what the outcome might be. Is the government facility corrupt? What really is going on with certain prisoners? Is there more than meets the eye to the institution, or less?
With all this guess work, though, I might recommend that you don't bother with the trailer before heading into it. It doesn't happen often for me, but this was one case where the trailer showed me everything I needed to know to call its ending. So upon seeing it the first time, I can say I was a bit disappointed. But with that said, it's still a perfectly solid film with a dark and imaginative atmosphere. If you're not into all the gangster related material Scorsese cranks out, this is a cool change of pace that shows us how dark and mysterious he can get.
On the other hand, if you really like typical Scorsese material, this could easily be seen as a little too different for your taste. Here, he plays with things like horror elements and makes sure everything atmospherically dreary and dark. Even through the day, it's all clouds and storms. It's safe to say that the overall feeling of the film matches the poster perfectly. On top of that, the performances and dialogue are all great, and it's a neat one to go back and watch now when some faces may be more recognizable. It may not be Scorsese's crowning achievement, but considering his filmography, that's not a stretch either. It's still a really good flick.