Shutter Island


ShutterIsland is a psychological thriller film starring Leonardo DiCaprioreleased in 2010, February. Directed by Martin Scorcese, the film isbased on a novel by Dennis Lehane with the same title. The film takesplace around Ashecliffe island, in an institution for criminallyinsane individuals that is located in an island in New England.Leonard DiCaprio plays the protagonist, federal Marshall TeddyDaniels, who goes to the island to look into the mysteriousdisappearance of, Rachel Solando, a patient that has escaped from alocked cell (shutter Island).

Thefilm is a depiction of abnormal psychology it revolves around TeddyDaniels and his adjustment or failure to adjust to and successfullycope with a variety of traumatic life events. The unpleasant air inthe Ashecliffe hospital leads to Daniels developing migraines,disturbing dreams about his dead wife and walking visions. As theinvestigation continues, Daniels finds out that that Rachel Solandohas indeed been found with no further explanation given. With thereluctance of the staff and patients to help,

Danielswanders off into ward C where he meets Noyce, a patient that is insolitary confinement. It is from Noyce that Daniels learns of thequestionable experiments that Ashecliffe is performing on itspatients and the fact that the incurable patients are sent to belobotomized in the lighthouse. Noyce makes an assertion that everyonethere as well as Daniel’s partner, Chuck Aule, is part of a gamethat is designed for Daniels.

Atthe end of the film, I have arrived at the conclusion that, TeddyDaniels was indeed insane one scenario that supports this fact ishow the guards carry themselves around him. It is plain that theyare aware of his mental illness and his instability hence why theyseem to hold their guns tighter they are also not just standingaround scowling at him. It was al an elaborate role play. Chuck isnot a police officer, he is not used to holding a gun as a matter offact, and he does not know how to get his gun off his belt and thisis obviously because chuck is a doctor, Dr. Sheen, working at thefacility and has no experience working with a gun. This is as isevident when he, Chuck, is handing over his gun to the guards butexperiences difficulty trying to get it off.

Teddy/Andrew is insane, and the truth dawns on him towards the end, when hesays the words ‘…to live as a monster or die as a good man’. Hemakes the choice to undergo the lobotomy because he could not subsistwith the guilt of murdering his wife and his failure to save hischildren. He would rather die in the fantasy of being a marshal thatis investigating the facility, (the good man) to a certain extent,than live his life as a mentally challenged patient while beinghaunted by his past actions (monster).

Theentire situation of confusion after the end is meant to show theviewer how confusing it is for Teddy to come to terms with the factthat his reality is skewed the people that Teddy interviews are allacting insane it is all role play to make him think he isinterviewing insane people. When Teddy goes to Rachel’s room, thereare two pairs of men’s shoes. Matter of fact, this is not Rachel’sroom it is his room Teddy knows where exactly the note is he put itaway out of his need to feed his fantasy.

Thefact that all the names are given in anagrams is concrete and wouldprove t be utterly impossible if indeed teddy were sane. He made upthe numbers patient 67 it is highly unlikely that the individualsthat were involved in his story ever had these names. It is also veryrevealing how chuck calls him boss towards the end it is the verysame way that Teddy talked to the patients.

Itis clear that the facility staff members are all in on an act to makeAndrew realize that he is not teddy but a patient. Teddy was deniedaccess to the patients’ files. This is probably because the filescontained records of interactions with, sessions and altercationswith Teddy himself as a patient in the facility. At some point thesupposed ‘patients’ admit to not knowing what to say anymorewhich only serves emphasize the fact that they are simply ‘acting’.

Itis agreeable that if indeed he was a Marshall, he would not have beendenied access to the files. Allowing the patient access to therecords would have impeded on the role playing game that the doctorsand medical staff had created. The island itself is a tell tale signthat teddy was insane and that the whole situation as is depicted inthe film is set up. The facility’s inner court I well manicuredthe idea of storm approaching was a delusion. In the end, after thesupposed rage of the storm, when we see teddy sited on the steps, thelawn looks exactly the same.

Iam particularly convinced that the staff was not attempting to drughim using aspirin rather, he was having dreams because he was notreceiving any antipsychotic drugs. This hence translated to himdepicting ‘withdrawal’ symptoms from his medication that in turnincreased the number of hallucinations he had as the film continued.


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Scorsese,Martin, Laeta Kalogridis, Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Bradley J.Fischer, Chris Brigham, Gianni Nunnari, Dennis Lehane, LouisPhillips, Robert Richardson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, BenKingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson,Jackie E. Haley, Ted Levine, John C. Lynch, Robin Bartlett,Christopher Denham, Nellie Sciutto, Joe Sikora, Curtiss I. Cook, RayA. Thomas, Joseph McKenna, Ruby Jerins, Max . Sydow, Dante Ferretti,Thelma Schoonmaker, Sandy Powell, Robbie Robertson, and DennisLehane. ShutterIsland.Hollywood, Calif: Paramount Home Entertainment, 2010.

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Lehane,Dennis. ShutterIsland.New York: William Morrow, 2003. Print.