Shutter Island Review – A Perceptive Nightmare

Though we don’t ask why two marshals are required for this investigation, it all gets clear later on.

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7 Min Read
Posted: September 14, 2023

Thrillers are a hard-to-master genre in filmmaking. But if you, by any chance, are David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, or Quentin Tarantino, then there is no such thing as “hard to master”. This “Shutter Island” review could not have existed without our great leader, Martin Scorsese.

Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest film directors to set foot on Earth (I don’t know about the film directors on other planets). The themes are very obnoxious, and the complexity of Scorsese’s characters is so intriguing that you’ll find yourself running marathons of all his classics non-stop.

The cinematography of “Shutter Island” is also a chef’s kiss. Cinematographer Robert Richardson, with his all-knowing abilities, makes the movie emanate an eerie and atmospheric tone. The use of dim lighting and monochromatic colors makes this film stand out among the rest of the thriller films.

Let us get on with the SPOILER-FREE review now.

Shutter Island Review


In “Shutter Island”, Leonardo DiCaprio is cast as U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, and Mark Ruffalo is cast as his sidekick Chuck Aule. Both Teddy and Chuck are assigned an investigation on an island named, you guessed it, “Shutter Island”. This investigation is on a child murderer, played by Emily Mortimer, who goes missing on the island and is on the run.

Though we don’t ask why two marshals are required for this investigation, it all gets clear later on. The island is far off from any land which makes it impossible to leave without a boat. Once off the boat, the humongous walls of the prison are sure to intimidate even the coolest of souls. The two marshals are shown to the medical ward’s head, Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley).

It is unclear to Teddy at that time why he’s been brought to this isolated island in the middle of nowhere. But when the truth is revealed the whole film takes a turn to the worst. By worst, I mean the film gets absolutely crazy and your interest in the film moves from a 10 out of 10 to a 100 out of 10. As much as I love spoiling great movies, sadly I can’t, or else I’ll lose my job, and you’ll stop coming to us.


The perceptive aspect of “Shutter Island” is quite similar to “Gone Girl”. Every element will cause you confusion since it won’t make sense until the big discovery. I think that is pretty beautifully done. The non-linear storyline makes a point of view even more messed up, and occasionally it seems like you’re getting confused a lot.

Theme And Symbolism

Martin Scorsese bestowed “Shutter Island” one of the most compelling themes. The main idea of this film is guilt and redemption. The guilt Teddy attained during his time in the war, he tries to neutralize by trying to figure out the missing child murderer’s whereabouts. This is basically a redemption journey for Teddy.

Shutter Island - Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams

Shutter Island – Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams


Martin Scorsese has truly done wonders with the characters in “Shutter Island”. It is as if they are more of a humane entity than a fictional one. Aside from that, Martin Scorsese’s choice of actors is always perfect. There’s a fact that any movie made by Martin that has Leonardo DiCaprio in it is sure to be a great banger. It’s as if those two were made for each other (not romantically, or are they?).

Teddy is a person who was a soldier in the Second World War. He keeps getting flashbacks that depict the prolonged effects of the war on him. This is crucial to the whole plot and the storyline is super bendy, but straight to the point. Once it reaches the big reveal, it makes “Shutter Island” a fun-to-watch thriller.


The cinematography in “Shutter Island”, done by Robert Richardson, is aesthetically appealing and complements the film’s psychological environment. Throughout the film, the combination of gloomy lighting and great contrast produces a sense of melancholy and discomfort, which is exactly the type of mood a person should achieve from the movie’s background.

The shadows and gloomy crevices add to the overall mystery and mental stress as if it’s the start of a 5-day work week. The desaturated and almost colorless palette used in “Shutter Island” makes the film more of a reality than a piece of fiction. The cinematography wonderfully conveys the protagonists’ psychological journey, immersing the audience in their tormented thoughts and the horrific atmosphere of Shutter Island.


“Shutter Island”, apart from being a great thriller, lacks in some places. The pacing of the film is comparatively slower than the pacing of other thrillers. This slow pacing makes some viewers, me included, pretty bored at points. The other problem is a complex narrative. To me it was alright, but lots of viewers were stuck trying to interpret all that was going on. May it be their small brains or Scorsese’s big one, this complexity leaves many confused. But all in all, it was nothing compared to the greatness of “Shutter Island”.

Shutter Island - Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo

Shutter Island – Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo

Too Long; Didn’t Read / Summary

“Shutter Island” is truly a wonderful film. Apart from that one moment where the protagonist says something much similar to the Harvey Dent’s saying, “You Either Die A Hero, Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain”, which was pretty unoriginal, the film punches you with all of the traits an exceptional thriller has to offer. May it be the gloomy environment that trickles you or the main character’s redemption journey about locating a child murderer, this film has a great storyline and is a perfect film to watch on Thriller Thursdays (or whenever you watch films).




  • Compelling storyline
  • Peaking cinematography
  • Amazing character design


  • Slow pacing
  • Relatively complex narrative

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conta da binance
conta da binance

Can you be more specific about the content of your article? After reading it, I still have some doubts. Hope you can help me.