Shut­ter Is­land

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - SEVEN DAYS -

Wed­nes­day, 9.35pm, RTÉ One

A crime thriller with an eerie feel, this isn’t Martin Scors­ese’s finest film but it is a hugely en­joy­able take on the novel by Den­nis Le­hane. Set in 1954, U.S. mar­shal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo Dicaprio) is as­signed to in­ves­ti­gate the dis­ap­pear­ance of a mur­der­ous fe­male pa­tient from Bos­ton’s Shut­ter Is­land Ashe­cliffe Hospi­tal. Teddy is joined by a new part­ner, Chuke Aule (Mark Ruf­fulo), who is as calm as Teddy is edgy. The es­capee, Rachel Sa­lando, is in the hospi­tal for the crim­i­nally in­sane af­ter drown­ing her three chil­dren, while Teddy is drawn to the is­land by his own dark past. His wife and chil­dren were killed in a fire and he is de­ter­mined to track down the man he holds re­spon­si­ble, and who he be­lieves is also on the is­land. He soon comes up with a promis­ing lead for his of­fi­cial case, but the staff, in­clud­ing the mys­te­ri­ous Dr Naehring (Max von Sy­dow) and Dr Caw­ley (Ben Kings­ley), seem de­ter­mined to ob­struct him. Be­fore long he be­gins to sus­pect that he’s been brought there as part of a twisted plot by doc­tors who carry out morally du­bi­ous treat­ments on their vul­ner­a­ble pa­tients. As a fierce storm cuts off com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the main­land, more dan­ger­ous criminals flee in the con­fu­sion. An in­creas­ingly fran­tic Teddy starts to un­ravel, doubt­ing ev­ery­thing − his mem­ory, his part­ner and even his san­ity. Scors­ese has clev­erly worked in ref­er­ences to his own favourite films, and the movie is a daz­zling pas­tiche of 1940s and 1950s Hol­ly­wood. It’s chock­full of bold nar­ra­tive twists and un­set­tling dream se­quences, while a darkly at­mo­spheric score re­flects Teddy’s spi­ralling para­noia. Im­pres­sively acted and su­perbly di­rected.

The story be­hind the film

Shut­ter Is­land is an adap­ta­tion of a book by best­selling au­thor Den­nis Le­hane, pub­lished in 2003. He also wrote Mys­tic River (2003) and Gone, Baby, Gone (2007). Bos­ton born Le­hane is the au­thor of nine nov­els, a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries and a play.

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