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23 July 2010 @ 03:47 am
Shutter Island  
Ok, so I'm a few months late to the party, but I just watched Shutter Island and had to post about it even though it's after 3am. Fair warning: this is going to be spoilerific.

I hated this movie. I can't believe I'm saying that about a Scorsese/DiCaprio film. But I hated this movie.

I hated this movie because it was painfully, painfully obvious. I knew how it was going to end within the first hour. And considering it's a 2 hour and 10 minute film, that left more than an hour of film for me to suffer through as it became more and more painfully obvious that I was right. I think that, had I not predicted the ending so early on, I actually might have enjoyed this film. It's aesthetically pleasing and I've been a DiCaprio fan since fourth grade. But knowing where it was headed left absolutely no "psychological thriller" in it for me. What I saw was a blatant attempt at a psychological thriller, a lot of decoys to try to keep the audience guessing, but the PAINFULLY OBVIOUS signs that we were dealing with a paranoid schizophrenic. Signs like the fact that a patient CALLS TEDDY "LAEDDIS" IN THE FIRST HOUR and that HE IS WEARING PATIENT CLOTHING FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE FILM and that EVERYONE HE MEETS FILLS HIS HEAD WITH CONSPIRACY THEORIES (which is the HALLMARK symptom of a paranoid schizophrenic). Granted, my psych major background might have played a role in ruining this film for me; I know a paranoid schizophrenic when I see one. And maybe if I didn't, I would have spent more of the film guessing and less of the film going *facepalm,* "He's Laeddis and he's schizophrenic!" But at the same time, I feel like anyone with any knowledge of "psychological thriller" films should have seen the ending coming? I mean, really. This film is SHAMELESS when it comes to horror film cliches - the island, the stormy weather, the big scary asylum, the dangerous cliffs, the creepy doctors, the scary music. There is absolutely nothing in this film that doesn't scream, "This movie is trying really, really hard to fuck with your mind." And when you know a movie is trying to fuck with your mind, it's a lot easier to see through the facade. Especially when it's as thinly veiled as this one. After all, the setting was an insane asylum with air tight security. The main character has very obvious hallucinations and goes on paranoid rants about a government conspiracy. And we're not supposed to figure out that he's a patient?! Seriously, Scorsese?!?! SERIOUSLY?!?! Harper's Island kept me guessing more than this. And, as much as I love those writers, that is not a compliment, Marty.

And for the record, I like horror films. I like psychological thrillers. I even like a good dose of cliche every now and then (read: Harper's Island). What I don't like is a film that pulls out every cliche in the book and then fails to surprise me. Cliches are fun, but only when they're the red herring. When the cliches point you to the ending instead of diverting you away from it, they're completely ineffective. And this film was a bunch of cliches screaming, "TEDDY'S CRAZY! TEDDY'S CRAZY! TEDDY'S CRAZY!" I'm actually kind of insulted that Scorsese thought I wouldn't see right through the veil ("I" meaning "the audience" as I don't have paranoid delusions that Mr. Scorsese ponders what star_lace  will think before he makes a film) .

All along, I was secretly hoping that I was wrong. I was hoping that the movie wanted you to think Teddy was a patient when in fact, he wasn't and that they really were trying to make him crazy to keep him from exposing their secret. THAT would've fucked with my head. THAT would have shocked me. But this ending? So predictable. Boringly predictable. Pedestrian even.

I never, ever thought I'd dislike a Scorsese/DiCaprio film. Ever. But, while visually enjoyable and skillfully acted, this film fell flat. Very flat. It was like watching a bad version of The Sixth Sense, the version where you know Bruce Willis is dead the entire time (or, if you're my mother, the actual The Sixth Sense because you blurt out "He's dead" in the first ten minutes of the movie).

Upon finishing the movie, I immediately read some reviews. Remembering the hype surrounding this film, I knew there must have been others who hated it as much as I did, critics who called it out for its complete lack of psychological thrill, for its utter disrespect of its audience who, surprisingly, have brains. Imagine my shock when I read things like, "You may read reviews of "Shutter Island" complaining that the ending blindsides you," a Roger Ebert quote. To which I respond: SERIOUSLY?! It appears that yes, the ending did blindside many, dare I say most, people. That to me is the real shocker here. Not the ending. Maybe I've taken one too many psych classes. Maybe I've seen one too many films. Maybe I've taken one too many psych classes and seen one too many films. But there was nothing in this film that I didn't see coming from a mile away. And for those who argue that the true shocker here isn't the fact that Teddy is Andrew Laeddis but the fact that he chooses to "die as a good man," I think you're giving the film too much credit. It definitely wants us to buy into the government conspiracy theory or at least question it. It wants us to take Teddy's side. It wants to psychologically thrill us. And that has nothing to do with Teddy's final statement. It has to do with his identity. Which is no real surprise at all.

This wasn't at all what I expected from Scorsese/DiCaprio and I can only hope their next project takes them off the teetering edge of this slippery cliff and plants their feet back on solid ground.
Feeling: disappointeddisappointed
Sounds: Shutter Island
Lauren and the Citylollynyc on July 23rd, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
I watched this in bits and pieces on a bus. I loved it because of Michelle Williams and the Holocaust stuff. HAHA. I didn't know there was going to be Holocaust stuff going in...so when there WAS Holocaust stuff...well, I'm sure you can imagine the joy in my heart. I didn't hate it probably because I was too tired to really THINK...and I think if the movie is something you think too much about it's one you will hate. The friend of his who was locked up who he found...he said his name and he had talked about him earlier but I had absolutely NO recollection of who/what he was. THAT is how disinterested I was, I suppose.

BUT because I guess I wasn't paying attention as closely as I should...I didn't guess the end. My guess was that it was going to be something like he WENT crazy while there which I'd think would be more obvious than what actually happened. I thought maybe he went a little crazy because of the war and because his wife died in the fire...and that this experience would put him over the edge? A lot didn't add up but again...I was tired. Hahaha. I definitely think they wasted too much time (i.e. with that woman who went missing and him finding the "real" Rachel in the cave and then turns out she didn't even exist? And he was making her up in his head?) and that the movie could've been an hour shorter if they just got rid of that whole thing, hahaha. I guess she's why he thought he was there but I hated everything that had to do with her. But yeah, I figured he would go insane and end up killing his partner or something which I probably should've assumed that would be the obvious way to go...but def didn't see the clues leading up to what happened. :-\
Lauren and the Citylollynyc on July 23rd, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
Should add that I can totally see how it's a movie that dummies could easily love. Because I was basically a dumbo whilst watching and I think that's why I enjoyed it...basically didn't even TRY to think or analyze and that's why it wasn't ruined for me. It seems that people who watch films analytically don't like this movie one little bit...but those who just watch for fun end up loving it. Maybe if I brainlessly watched tv/movies more often I'd enjoy a whole lot more of them???
star_lace: SUNNY // Thumbs Upstar_lace on July 24th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC)
It seems that people who watch films analytically don't like this movie one little bit...but those who just watch for fun end up loving it. Maybe if I brainlessly watched tv/movies more often I'd enjoy a whole lot more of them???

That is definitely possible. Because I've read some reviews where the reviewer is going off entertainment value (like Ebert's) and the movie gets good ratings. And then I've read other reviews where the reviewer is actually critiquing the content (like this fab review which I can't find right now grrrr) and the movie tanks. So I think it's probably an enjoyable film if you just watch it, but the second you try to think about it, you realize it's a big mess.
star_lace: BSG // Kara at Shooting Rangestar_lace on July 24th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
After some pretty extensive googling to prove to myself that I'm not crazy, I've determined that I'm actually alone and that most people did not predict the ending. Like, at all. Not even a little bit. So I think it must just be me. And I really think the fact that my head is fulled with psych stuff 9 months a year played a big role. Because while I had been pretty sure of Leo's status as a patient for most of it, the lady in the cave was what put me over the edge into, "This guy is definitely mentally ill!" The moment I realized that everyone he talked to was filling his head with conspiracy theories was the moment my inner psychologist was all, "Paranoid schizophrenic!" And I don't think most people's brains are wired like that. And I didn't think it was a stretch since the movie made it perfectly clear that he had hallucinations even if it didn't make all of them clear (like cave lady). I really think I wouldn't have noticed this if my mind wasn't so used to trying to diagnose people lmao.

I DEF agree the movie was too long. It went through stretches where it was just stagnant. I have big issues with the whole plot that I didn't even go into here - like how an institution would NEVER let a murderous patient run around the facility freely for a few days? And how they blamed his psychosis on his past trauma which really isn't common. And how they tried to make symbols important (like fire/fantasy vs. water/reality) but failed miserably.

But yeah, I figured he would go insane and end up killing his partner or something which I probably should've assumed that would be the obvious way to go...but def didn't see the clues leading up to what happened.

See, I thought the obvious thing was that he was a patient all along. But I really think I'm the only one who thought this lol. B/c I think your way would have been the not obvious way. I was really, really hoping that it actually was a conspiracy and that they were trying to make him crazy and that it worked, but I was disappointed when they revealed that he'd been institutionalized all along.

Anyway, I think you saw the movie that most people saw and my psych-minded brain totally killed it for me lol.