Monday, 1 February 2010

Shutter Island: Scorsese's New Masterpiece?

So, with the recent news that Martin Scorsese's adap of Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island has been moved back to March, film fans couldn't have their patience tested further. Cos believe me, having just finished the story, in the hands of a cinema master, this could be the latest benchmark in psychological terror.

Lehane's novel is the tale of two Federal Marshals (Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo) who are summoned to an eerie, isolated mental hospital to investigate the disappearance of a notorious murderess. Or are they? The sinister hospital staff, headed by Ben Kingsley, seem to have other plans...

In truth, the prose is shallow - an airport potboiler at best - but the mashing together of several distinct genres, from 50s hardboiled fiction to psychological drama to Gothic, is ambitious. It promises immense things once in the hands of Scorsese. One of the true pioneers of cinema as a visual medium, the book's abundance of storm-swept isolation, chilling dream sequences and heady misdirection have already proven fodder for the director, says Ruffalo, describing it as 'Scorsese's playground'.

So, can he turn an enjoyable, if slight, pulp paperback into terrifying art, a la Orson Welles and Touch of Evil? The evidence is all there to make it so...

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