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Shutter Island (2010)

I wonder, is it better to live like a monster, or die a good man?

— Teddy Daniels

Martin Scorsese’s latest movie Shutter Island, which stands as the 197th movie on the Top 250 of All-Time on IMDb, has been getting a bad rap since its studio, Paramount decide to move the release date of the movie from October 2009 to February 2010, because it couldn’t afford the Oscar campaign for the picture. I call bullshit on that. This could mean certain death for a film not being remember a whole year from now. This is the fourth collaboration of Scorsese and lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Even though the movie is highly predictable, I still enjoyed the majority of the ride.

Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, former WWII soldier/U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) travel by boat to Shutter Island, which is a home of Ashcliffe, the prison for the criminally insane. They are met by Deputy Marshal McPherson (John Carroll Lynch) who them that they have to surrender their firearms. They take a tour of the complex which has separate wards for men, women prisoners and an old Civil War era, Building C that houses the most dangerous criminals.

The team meets the head psychiatrist of the institution; Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) to investigate the disappearance of a patient that mysteriously escaped from her cell, who killed her kids, Rachel Solando. She is loose somewhere on the island, because there is no way for her to escape the island without drowning.

Searching through her cell, Teddy fines a piece of paper in her room that has “The law of 4. Who is 67?” scribbled on it. In order to try to find out the circumstances surrounding the escapee, Teddy and Chuck want to interview the staff. Dr. Cawley and Dr. Naehring (Max von Sydow) doesn’t want the investigators to rummage through the staffs personal files. Teddy wants to leave immediately.

The more time that Teddy spends on the island he has flashbacks of an incident when he was a soldier in WWII liberating a Dachau concentration camp or his life with her wife, Dolores (Michelle Williams) that was killed years earlier.

A massive hurricane hits the island and the prisoners try to escape the island, Teddy comes to realization when Rachel is found that they are 66 patients on the island, but Rachel implies there is a 67th patient. Who is that patient?

I thought the performances were very good, especially DiCaprio, Jackie Earle Haley and Patricia Clarkson.

I thought that the score was unnecessary in the beginning segments of the film. I guess, Scorsese wanted to set the mood. It was ear deafening. The biggest problem of the movie is the twist. Watching the trailers lately, they talk about the twist ending. The twist you could predict thirty minutes into the movie. I wasn’t a surprise at all, but I was half right about it. There was another sharp turn that I didn’t see coming.

Judgment: This movie was mess with your mind until the very end.

Rating: ****

Transsiberian (2008)

Kill off all my demons, Roy, and my angels might die, too.

— Jessie

Coming back from the gym on Saturday, I wanted to watch Steve Carrell’s movie, Dan in Real Life on TBS. When I was flipping through episode guide, I saw that Transsiberian was coming on at the same time on Showtime. I remember that Tassoula from Cinebanter had this movie on her top ten of 2008 list. I decided to watch this instead. I’m glad I did.

A couple that is having martial problems, Roy and Jessie (Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer) board the Transsiberian Express in Pekin, China. They just finished a six-day sister city mission by Roy’s church in the region to help the impoverished kids. This is their first trip together. They thought that they could put their turbulent home life behind them. During the numerous stops, Jessie would take pictures of the landscapes and the people that they encounter.

On one of the scheduled stops, another couple comes into their cabin, Carlos and Abby (Eduardo Noriega, Kate Mara). They said that they are coming from Japan teaching English and Spanish. Carlos is a travel nut who dragged Abby along with him non-stop for two years.

The younger adventurous couple’s tendencies rub off on Roy and Jessie. They bond over vodka in the dining car. They open themselves up with each other with their dreams of the future. Carlos tries to single out Jessie when he shows her some souvenirs in his bag.

At another layover, Roy’s obsession with trains leads him to be stranded there. Jessie doesn’t realize the fact until the train with chugging along. Jessie has a feeling that there is something not right about the couple that shares their cabin. She franticly tries to look for him from different people in Russia. Secrets are exposed, truths are revealed and the couples are thrown into chaos.

This movie is a slow burn. Try to survive for the first hour of the movie, then the movie kicks up into high gear. I can’t tell you whatever happens, because they would be a spoiler. I want you to experience that for yourself.

Judgment: If you need a good reason to see this movie, it’s Emily Mortimer. She deals with heavy material and she could handle it with ease. Absolute must-see.

Rating: ****

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