When you have an 'off-day', you might accidentally splash coffee on a cute girl on the train or stub your toe kicking a football around. When Martin Scorsese has an 'off-day', it potentially tarnishes careers. You really have to feel for the guy that's a heavy burden.
Such is the case with his latest would-be classic, Shutter Island. The famed director set sail from the wild shores of Boston and put his 'Gangs of New York' and 'The Aviator' cap on, producing something almost completely devoid of his taut directorial trademarks - save for his favourite actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, who returns to Scorsese's soft lens as Teddy Daniels, U.S. Marshal and bereft husband. Put simply, Scorsese missed the mark on this one.
The titular Shutter Island is an isolated crag of withered land that houses a hospital for rehabilitating the criminally insane - a secure facility where the mysterious and all-too-pleasant Dr. Cawley (a graceful Ben Kingsley) oversees the careful therapy of its residents. When one of these patients escapes her confines, DiCaprio's Daniels is sent to investigate.
Mark Ruffalo, who gels nicely with the sombre atmosphere, plays Daniels' partner, Chuck Aule. Whether as a result of poor casting or simply poor performance on DiCaprio's part, Ruffalo immediately appears to be the senior figure of the duo - which actually makes for an interesting set-up later in the film. However, we doubt this was intentional. DiCaprio, who stole the show as a hard-edged undercover agent in Scorseses' The Departed, spends most scenes looking deeply uncomfortable. We shared his baffled expression throughout this production.
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