In 1954, U.S. Marshals Edward "Teddy" Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), are sent to Ashecliff Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island for an investigation. We learn that Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer), a patient, escaped from her room, which was locked from outside. Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), the hospital's head psychiatrist, has no clues about how this could have happened and neither do the two U.S. Marshals.
As Teddy investigates, he faces traumatic moments of his past. First, there are flashbacks of Teddy's experience during World War II. Secondly, Teddy's dead wife, Dolores (Michelle Williams), is still present in his thoughts, visions and even dreams. Moreover, Teddy remembers that his wife was killed by an arsonist - now held at Shutter Island - who burnt down his appartment.
How does this affect the investigation?
This is the question that we're left with all along. In all fairness, Laeta Kalogridis's script successfuly recreates the relatively suspenseful atmosphere of Dennis Lehane's novel without knocking us out with dialogues that are as stretched as an elastic. Of course, Shutter Island is not a psychological thriller that tries to explain how madness gets hold of some characters, especially the one played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Despite that, the storyline is entertaining enough that it keeps our attention until the end where we see that nothing at Shutter Island is what it seems to be.
Speaking about false impressions about the characters, Martin Scorsese brilliantly pulled out an impeccable performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. Although his character is a representative of the law and order, we can easily discern the violence that inhabits Edward. Moreover, if you keep your eyes peeled, you'll probably figure out before the end how Edward's inner violence will turn itself against him.
All in all, for those who hate slowly paced films, this is by far the most accessible film from Martin Scorsese. However, some details in the script are as subtle as Sean Avery when he's screening a goalie. In fact, throughout the film, we constantly see hints - especially when Dr. Jeremiah Naehring (Max von Sydow) makes his first appearance - that give away some details about the ending. Nonetheless, Shutter Island remains a decent entertainment.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow and Elias Koteas