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Friday, July 2, 2010


Martin Scorsese gives us too much of a good thing on this ‘shaggy-dog’ horror pic. Leonardo Di Caprio & Mark Ruffalo play Fed Marshals who ferry off to Shutter Island (a remarkably lux lock-up facility for the criminally insane) when a patient/prisoner disappears. But, as you might have expected, it’s the guards, the staff & the doctors who make the investigation difficult (and terrifying). Making a high-tech version of a Val Lewton ‘thinking man’s’ fright pic has lots of possibilities, but Scorsese (typically) can’t keep himself from over-loading the pot, so we get stylistic nods toward directors dead (the gaudy grandiosity of Stanley Kubrick) and directors irrelevant (De Palma’s pointless pyrotechnics) as well as some appallingly tasteless sampling from the liberation of Dachau for use as background character seasoning. Really, Marty. Happily, there’s a sumptuous line-up of supporting players (Max Von Sydow, Ben Kingsley, Patricia Clarkson, et al.) to yell ‘Booga-booga!’ at us and a tricky coda to keep us from noticing that Di Caprio & Ruffalo should have reversed roles.

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