Sunday, February 21, 2010

'Shutter Island' Too Heavy for Its Own Good

Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" is a big, convoluted, relentless, complex, psycho-drama that implodes from its own weight. This is a movie that simply can't stand up because it is so heavy, slow and fat.

An impressive cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams) and Scorsese's marvelous period settings simply can't rescue a movie I wanted to like, at least partly because DiCaprio is one of the two or three most consistently compelling actors in the business today.

The story, though, as my wife so succinctly pointed out on the drive home, would have been marvelous had Alfred Hitchcock directed it. It would also have been 30 to 45 minutes shorter and would not have suffered from the death knell for movies like this: far, far more plot than is necessary.

I'm not going to get into a lot of detail because one small slip can be a plot spoiler--in much the way we all had to shut up about "The Sixth Sense." Suffice it to say that you won't leave humming the soundtrack. My guess is that, for those of you who imbibe, a stiff drink will be in your hand shortly after you get home from "Shutter Island."

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