1954. US Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) travels to an offshore asylum for the criminally insane with his new partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo). Daniels is supposedly investigating the mysterious disappearance of a murderess from her cell, but also wants to confront Andrew Laeddis (Elias Koteas), an imprisoned arsonist he believes was responsible for the death of his wife (Michelle Phillips). On the island, Daniels comes to believe senior psychologists Cawley (Ben Kingsley) and Naehring (Max von Sydow) are involved in unethical experiments and a conspiracy to cover up the fate of Laeddis.
DiCaprio delivers a startling prettyboy-to-tough nut makeover – but he has to play it close to his chest here for the storyline to play out. Once you get past the trickery, Shutter Island offers sumptuous, enthralling, shivery gothic filmmaking with a hardboiled heart and a sly line in asylum humour. If a pot is being boiled, at least it’s an intricately-decorated pot on a spectacular fire.
Reviewed by Kim Newman
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