Paramount’s releasing “Shutter Island” this coming weekend, and I’m pleased to see that glowing reviews are starting to pour in for the film, which I saw in December.
Pleased, but not especially surprised.
Dennis Lehane’s novel, adapted for the screen by Laeta Kalogridis, gave director Martin Scorsese a chance to work out his Val Lewton, and the end result is creepy, beautiful, lushly realized. It’s a horror film, but the monsters in it are all the monsters we all carry around inside us. Our fears, our doubts, our pain, our sorrow. It marks yet another collaboration between Scorsese and his new favorite movie star Leonardo DiCaprio, and what’s interesting about them working together over and over is that it bookends the early part of Scorsese’s career, when he worked with De Niro over and over. I suspect that these days, part of what makes DiCaprio so attractive to the director is that he can get almost anything bankrolled simply by being involved, but that wouldn’t be enough for Scorsese if he didn’t also love the collaboration.
What I’ve heard about Scorsese from everyone who has ever worked with him is that he is the sort of guy who loves the conversation. He loves to take a piece of material apart, and he loves to be challenged about it by everyone who is part of the process, whether it’s his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker or the actors or his cinematographer or the writer. He enjoys it because he’s secure that after all the time he’s put in as a director, he knows what he likes, he knows what he’s trying to say, and he knows that he has the technical ability to communicate an idea. He trusts the people he hires to bring their very best to the films, and he doesn’t spend all his time micro-managing or second-guessing. Check it out:
On “Shutter Island,” he has a pretty remarkable cast, including DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams, Elias Koteas, and more. In our exclusive featurette, they talk about working with him and vice-versa, and it’s a bit of a love fest. If you’re looking for more clips, you shouldn’t. Paramount’s being very careful about how much footage from this one they release because the film is a sneaky emotional puzzle-box, and if you see too much, you’ll start to piece things together.
Suffice it to say, “Shutter Island” is a destination worth visiting, and you’ll be able to book your trip starting this weekend.
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