Shutter Island (2010)

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Screenplay By: Laeta Kalogridis

Cinematography By: Robert Richardson

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo & Ben Kingsley

Runtime 138 minutes

I am so glad I have finally been able to rewatch this film. As I say a lot, the way we receive movies is largely due to our expectations. Sometimes this falls on marketing for a misleading advertising campaign and sometimes this falls on us for wanting a movie to be something it is not. When I first saw Shutter Island in theaters I could not appreciate this movie for what it was because I wanted it to be something it wasn’t. I was looking for a detective ghost story and that is not what Shutter Island is. What Shutter Island is is a profoundly beautiful film about a shattered man who has a whole island of people trying to help him find himself.

The beautiful irony of Shutter Island, which was not lost on me this time around is that wonderful idea that Leo’s character is looking for himself. This is and isn’t a spoiler. The reason it is not is because the movie is undeniably more impactful when you know this going into it. Every gesture, every look, every comment that people make to or away from Teddy Daniels (Leo’s character) has so much more meaning because you, along with everyone else on the island, knows what is going on. That was the tragic flaw of this movie for a modern audience. It seemed to them, us, me at the time that we were being dealt a shady hand. That the movie wasn’t being honest or straight forward with us. That ultimately there had to be more because it couldn’t have been as simple as the characters were telling us it was. But it is that simple and therefore utterly complex and compelling.

I’m telling you, this movie is beautiful and heart-breaking and a tremendous testament to Martin Scorsese. Go rewatch this movie and be amazed.

God Bless America

Inception (2010)

Directed By – Christopher Nolan

Screenplay By – Christopher Nolan

Cinematography By – Wally Pfister

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Co.

148 min.

Inception was Nolan’s most ambitious project at the time (now surpassed by Interstellar) and visually it’s beautiful. The more I watch this movie though, the more I realize that the story isn’t as “epic” as I had once thought it was. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good movie, but as some movies get better with each viewing I think Inception has a peak viewing at about four times. After the fourth it doesn’t necessarily get worse, but it at least plateaus.

As far as Nolan as a filmmaker, his movies are on par each and every time, I just don’t think Inception resinates with me as much as his other movies. I also think that the heart of this movie is so overshadowed and misleading that it becomes not an interesting way of weaving humanity into this film, but is so obscured by everything else that’s going on that it gets lost in translation. Essentially this movie is about Cobb (DiCaprio’s character) accepting his world as reality, whether or not it is a dreamworld, and just accepting it. But at the same time Cobb is going through the guilt and grief at which he feels about Mal’s, Cobb’s dead wife’s, suicide. And this is all going on during a third-level dreaming reverse-heist plot? Ocean’s 11 is heartfelt yet simple, Inception might be trying to do just a little too much.

I think this film is at it’s best with all of the side character and the actors that play them. While it is Cobb’s story lead by DiCaprio, it is a team heist movie as well and for me the team is more interesting than Cobb is. From Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Tom Hardy to Ken Watanabe and Cillian Murphy, all of those guys are so entertaining in this movie, even Tom Bringer shows up and nails his part. To me everything that they do is more interesting than Cobb’s dead wife situation.

Again, Inception is a good movie, it just isn’t my favorite Nolan film by any means.

God Bless America