Shutter Island Review

“… the story is engaging enough to entertain until the end regardless of whether or not you know the outcome.”

With movies like Shutter Island, the question really is whether or not they hold up to rewatches. For psychological thrillers that often rely on one big ‘twist’ (e.g. Fight Club, The Game, Seven, The Prestige, etc.) it’s hard to rope an audience member into a rewatch becasue all of the excitement is lost. You already know the answer, so the question isn’t as intriguing. Of course all of those movies that I mentioned subvert this idea by being really fucking good; the best in their genre I would say. But does Shutter Island fit this bill? Not quite.

When I rewatched Shutter Island a few days ago it had been years since I had seen it. As a matter of fact, I believe the last time I saw it was the year it came out, 2010. But despite this enormous gap of time I still remember the final ‘twist’ of the movie. I feel hat saying there is a twist is a spoiler in itself, but it’s no secret that Shutter Island is one of those quintessential ‘twist’ movies. So rewatching it left me in an entirely different headspace than if I were watching it for the first time, but surprisingly it didn’t completely ruin the experience. What I found in this Martin Scorsese-directed film was still compelling performances, an interesting and immersive setting, and some inventive camerawork that seemed really ‘hands-on’ as opposed to passive.

But that’s not really what I want to discuss. It’s the twist that is the entire crux of the story, it’s what makes it impactful and memorable; so how did the movie hold up with me already knowing the outcome. Honestly, pretty well. I found the story of Shutter Island to be pretty engaging throughout, really keeping you guessing until the very end. Despite me knowing the outcome of our main character before the film even started, I found that there were enough red herrings and tertiary questions to keep my mind occupied until the credits started to roll. And I also forgot just how dark and insightful the very end of the movie actually is. I remembered the twist, but to me the very end of the movie, the period at the end of this wonderful story, is twice as impactful as the twist itself and it’s what will stick with me for years to come.

Overall Shutter Island was pretty good the second time around, even though I knew the ‘twist’. The film is competently made, and the story is engaging enough to entertain until the end regardless of whether or not you know the outcome.

I give Shutter Island a B

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