My problem with Shutter Island…

August 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

… is best explained with this quote from a review of another movie:

First it’s hard to connect with a movie when it tries so hard to ‘fool’ you or to keep you guessing; is this a dream, is it not, is it a dream within a dream? Who cares? Just commit to something and get on with it.

That said, I guess my issue is more to do with the film presenting the blindingly obvious twist (it’s all in his head) without actually saying it, and then proceeding to lead the audience down the garden path for the rest of the film until it says “STOP! Now, here’s the real answer.”

Here’s the kicker, though: the above quote is from a review of Inception by Michelle Alexandria, of Eclipse Magazine. And yet, I really loved Inception; couldn’t shut up about it, in fact. So I don’t know why I feel that the criticism applies so strongly here and not there, when they are quite similar movies – both dealing with shifting and unreliable realities, from the perspectives of troubled and traumatised narrators, and both coincidentally starring DiCaprio in the leading role. I really need to see Inception again, just to see if it holds up a second time round, and maybe so I can figure this paradox out.


Also, I couldn’t resist – from the same review:

The last 30 minutes was a complete mess, featuring three or four dreams all happening at once. I did think Call of Duty: Modern Warfare would make a pretty cool movie since one of the dreams was a blatant rip off of the game. I kept thinking, man I wish I was home playing some Spec Ops and not stuck here watching this movie. [My bold – ed.]

I’m glad I wasn’t the only person thinking this. Further, I think she’s right: the third layer (or as I like to call it, “The Snow Level”) is where I got bored, where it suddenly turns into a mindless action scene from a James Bond movie that drags on, and on, and on, and on, and– well, you get the gist.

As I said, I loved Inception, but I also think this review raises some interesting criticisms of the film.



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