Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shutter Island: When the Camera Becomes Still and the Bad Guys are Free

When the action is all psychological and the bad guys have won, what happen to Martin Scorsese' s camera?
I respect Scorsese and love  most of his films, I'm generally surprised  by Leonardo DiCaprio and his passionate acting slowly grows on me with each successive performance. Because of all this  I was awaiting Shutter Island with real trepidation and anticipated a satisfying and smart thriller, stuffed to the hilt with DiCaprio/Scorsese chemistry and the artful touch of a Master Director in top shape.

Well, that's not what happened.

Anybody who grew up on a steady diet  of X-files will have guess within 30 minutes the 2 possible outcomes of this movie: unfortunately they do not take up the most interesting one, nor the most thrilling. We can't help but think how snidely Mulder would have crack the case all the while charming one of the dour nurses for sport. But since it's all for the sake of good acting on DiCaprio's part and one of the most clever last sentences uttered in movies  in the last 10 years, we forgive.

I thought  all of this must be a parable, a symbolic construction on the modern state of Man bla-bla-bla  since nothing knew is presented here. We could feel how DiCaprio's character could be seen as an Everyman trying to survive in a world giving to lies and violence with no shelter or warmth  to give him hope. But, the real mystery was that even thought I was wrong  and no second degree was hidden in the fold of Scorsese's mind this time, I could not let Teddy Daniel, the U.S. marshal lost in this leaded waste land, faces his despair alone.

DiCaprio's furry brows and clear baby eyes hold us to the screen as much as we would want to leave this Island behind us too. His search for the proper answer to atrocities and manipulation (should we stay civilized, should we let our outrage wrecks loose, should we retreat in a dream world of our own making where we are the heroes: protecting all the innocents, including our fragile egos, our so delicate minds and susceptibilities...), his quest for the meaning of being humane in a climate of provoked paranoia and delusions make us hope in turn for his success. Finding an answer could really help us right now to face the  everyday craziness and hysteria of the  contemporary American landscape, tea bags and all.

But of course, his success is our demise. Not a pretty picture for us who are left in the asylum with our crazy doctors and bad hospital food. This man fall from grace leaves us with a bitter after taste.

With Ben Kingsley making an appearance, used as always as the devious joker sprung from a very creaky Jack-in-a-box.

And I must add: those are some mighty powerful matches...

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