Carly at the Movies: Heroes never wear Band-aids

Column by Carl Larsen
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Why would Martin Scorsese, probably the world’s most-respected film director, give away the mystery to his latest movie in the very first scene?

If you pick up that clue to “Shutter Island,” currently playing at the Regal Staunton Mall Cinema, you’ll just sit there for the next two-and-a-half hours waiting for it to turn out just as you’d expected.

In the meantime, you can enjoy the standard Scorsese cinematic touches and revel in a plot that seems straight out of the beloved old WWII radio adventure series called “I Love a Mystery” by Carlton E. Morse.

Yep, there’s Master Martin’s patented 360-degree camera turn and, oh yes, there’s his gorgeous, shadowy photography, set to wonderful use on the bleak and mysterious island that’s the setting for this tale of weird goings-on in an isolated hospital for the criminally insane.

The year is 1954, and a U.S. Marshal, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is sent out by ferry to Shutter Island where a murderess has inexplicably escaped from the facility run by Ben Kinsley, the head shrink. She’s nowhere to be found, and has slipped by a whole posse of attendants.

If you’re seeking sweetness and light, you’d best look elsewhere, friend. This is a psychological thriller not for timid, with Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley and Max Von Sydow showing up from time to time to drop in a hint to the solution and/or further complicate matters.

Fans of film noir will surely appreciate the shadings and shadows of Scorsese’s genius. But besides the technicalities of his filmsmanship, and as much as I respect him, the last truly satisfying film he made was “Gangs of New York” in 2002. That was after his 1970s and 1980s run of “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” and ‘The King of Comedy.” (Sure, I know he won his Directing Oscar for “The Departed,” but I don’t think it ever stacked up to his earlier triumphs.)

But Back to “Shutter Island,” which had the largest opening box office weekend of any previous film by Master Martin: Sure, Di Caprio plays it straight and spreads around the usual amount of Di Capriocorn in an unrelenting manner. He’s kinda twisted and tortured and lucky to have his sidekick to vent at. And the superb supporting cast is impeccably chosen to fill out the bleak story written by Denis Lehane, author of “Mystic River.”

But while watching with appreciation the hand of a film icon at work, that obvious give-away clue in the first scene loomed larger. Best to just sit back and enjoy the creepy-crawlies scurrying up your backbone as the whole schmegeggy unfolds. You won’t be disappointed. After all, this is Martin Scorsese.

And the clue? Shucks, I left it, just like the Director did, at the beginning of the review.


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