SHUTTER ISLAND - Directed by Martin Scorsese, Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow, Elias Koteas, Jackie Earl Haley (2.19.10)
This film, like THE WOLFMAN, had its release pushed back from fall 2009 to February. The move shook my confidence in the film momentarily. Scorsese films are perennial Oscar contenders, so taking it out of the running seems to shed some doubt on the finished product's quality. However, from what I've heard, the issue was a time and editing issue. So, I suppose I'm glad they decided to take their time and make the best possible film they could.
It's very hard to imagine that this film will be bad. Since teaming up with Scorsese for GANGS OF NEW YORK in 2002, DiCaprio has made a very serious actor out of himself, only appearing in fairly successful films except Ridley Scott's disappointing BODY OF LIES. Scorsese has been on quite a tear himself lately. The man is a film legend, having directed some of the best films of all time, but not every work of his is so memorable. However, his last three non-documentary films have been nominated for Best Picture. He even won his long deserved Best Director award in 2008 for THE DEPARTED, which also won Best Picture. SHUTTER ISLAND is his non-documentary follow-up to that film.
Furthering this film's chances of success is the fact that it's based on a Dennis Lehane novel. His last two novels to be adapted, MYSTIC RIVER and GONE BABY GONE, were critically praised.
SHUTTER ISLAND certainly has a lot going for it. Apart from its marquee cast members, there's a lot of impressive support from the likes of Elias Koteas (of Ninja Turtles fame :)), Jackie Earl Haley (WATCHMEN) and screen legend Max Von Sydow (THE VIRGIN SPRING).
I find the fact that Scorsese is directing a period horror piece to be very exciting. He does very well with the period stuff, but it's rare that the upper echelon of directors wade into the murky depths of the genre. Horror is often misused to make cheap, unoriginal films, but the potential for greatness in it is second to none. That being said, I have very high hopes for this film. When I walk into the theater on February 19th, I'll be relaxed, almost certain that I'm about to watch something that's, at least, very good.