16 August 2010

FILM OF THE WEEK: Shutter Island

STARRING: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Sir Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Max Von Sydow
DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese
RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes
RELEASED: 19th February 2010

YES. I know this is a music blog I'm writing. If I hand't figured that out by now, I'd have to deaf, dumb and blind (and hopefully good at pinball to compensate). But as much as I am a music obsessive, I'm a film geek in equal measure. Plus film and music are intrinsically entwined; for instance, would any Tarantino movie be quite as cool without the great man himself handpicking the best accompanying soundtracks? Would (500) Days of Summer be so adored by the indie contingent if it weren't for the inclusion of The Smiths, Regina Spektor, Feist and She & Him in the film? The OSTs of Juno, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Watchmen and even Alice In Wonderland are packed with great tracks ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Editors, Mott The Hoople to Cee-Lo Green, Franz Ferdinand to Muse and even Robert Smith. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Edgar Wright's forthcoming comic book adaptation (sure to be amazing, just so you know) will feature Beck, Broken Social Scene, Frank Black, Metric, Blood Red Shoes and The Bluetones, whilst Radiohead's producer Nigel Godrich will be providing the score. And if you need any more proof that music helps to create iconic moments in cinema, see the opening to Trainspotting, Reservoir Dogs and Toy Story. Yes, Toy Story. It's quite ironic then that the first film I've chosen for FOTW has no such star-studded soundtrack or classic pop songs augmenting every scene.

Shutter Island (adapted from Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel) pretty much cements Leonardo DiCaprio's place as Martin Scorsese's new muse, for lack of a better word, replacing Robert DeNiro. Their fourth film working together (after Gangs Of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004) and The Departed (2006)), DiCaprio plays US Marshal Teddy Daniels, sent to investigate the Ashecliff Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island. Along with partner Chuck (Mark Rufallo), Daniels is on the case of the missing patient Rachel Solando, who apparently escaped from her locked cell. Suspecting a conspiracy, Daniels keeps digging deeper in to the workings of the hospital, interviewing patients and staff alike working his way closer and closer to something he doesn't want to know.

Whilst not a timeless classic of a film, Shutter Island makes it four hits in a row for the Scorsese/DiCaprio partnership (it's Scorsese's highest-grossing film worldwide) and not without good reason. The plot and twist are rather Hitchcock-esque and as always Scorsese directs the events fantastically, a one-take, dolly-cam shot of Teddy Daniels' military past being a particular highlight. The superb supporting cast don't hurt either, with Ruffalo, Sir Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Max von Sydow and Jackie Earle Haley (of Watchmen fame, particularly pleasing to this fanboy) all giving memorable turns. If reports are to be believed and "Leo and Marty" have two more films in the works, then the future looks pretty bright.

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