After a patient mysteriously disappears, U.S. Marshals Edward ‘Teddy’ Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) travel to Shutter Island, a psychiatric facility for the criminally insane, to investigate the case. Finding the hospital staff, led by chief psychiatrist Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley), to be mysteriously uncooperative, Teddy begins to explore the island in search of the truth, only to uncover clues to a vast conspiracy, which may or may not involve the whereabouts of Laeddis, the hospital patient with a tragic connection to Daniels himself.
Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s hit novel is a gloriously atmospheric pulp chiller, using its haunting island setting and an impressive box of stylistic tricks – back projection, jarring colour, a dash of German Expressionism – to create an aura of strange unreality around a gripping detective story.
Described by film critic Matt Lynch as a Giallo by way of Powell & Pressburger, Shutter Island eventually becomes a moving account of self-deceit and buried trauma. Featuring Leonardo DiCaprio’s most moving, emotionally complex performance, and memorable turns by Max von Sydow, Patricia Clarkson and Michelle Williams, the result is one of Scorsese’s most under-appreciated masterpieces.