One of my favorite things in film is the sacred and underrated occurrence of the actor/director bromance. This is seen with Depp/Burton, Rogen/Apatow, Hanks/Spielberg, Cruise/Spielberg, Anderson/Seymour Hoffman, Nicholson/Brooks, and Scorsese/DeNiro etc. Well, we have a new one (just so you know you need at least four collaborations for it to be a bromance), with Scorsese/DiCaprio.
Since, 2002's "Gangs of New York," Scorsese has done a brilliant job of pushing Leo from teen heartthrob into one of the best actors in the business. Scorsese also proves that he is still one of the best directors in the business. "Shutter Island" is a great throwback to "Twilight Zone," Hitchcockian thrillers.
I don't want to spoil the story so if I'm vague on the plot, that's all the better for you. The film (based on a book by "Mystic River" and "Gone Baby Gone" author Dennis Lehane), is about U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) going to Shutter Island, an institution for the criminally insane to investigate the disappearance of a patient. They meet the head psychiatrist Dr. Cawley (played by Oscar winner Ben Kingsley), who immediately causes Teddy to become suspicious of the entire institution. At first, Teddy decides to give up when he realizes there won't be full cooperation, but when a storm strands them on the island he decides to dig deeper. That is about all I can say because I don't want to ruin anything. Just know this: DiCaprio hallucinates a lot, and there are clues throughout. While you can guess the general idea of the ending, it's still full of neat twists that should make M. Night Shyamalan take note on how to build a suspenseful climax.
This was a great film and though it can get a bit bizarre for some people, it's very well made. Not only are the stars great, but bench players like Jackie Earl Hayley, Michelle Williams, Ted Levine, and Emily Mortimer do a lot with little time. As far as the stars go, Ben Kingsley is great as the creepy Dr. Cawley and Mark Ruffalo is great in his low key role as Chuck. However, the true marvel of this movie is DiCaprio, who made me officially not hate him anymore.
DiCaprio's career has come full circle for me and I'll explain why. I remember seeing him during the last season of "Growing Pains," and thinking he did a good job in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" (great example for Kirk Lazurus's monologue in "Tropic Thunder"). I HATED his moves in the late nineties with the trifecta of "Titanic," "Romeo + Juliet," and "The Beach" and was happy when he went on a sabbatical for a while because I was absolutely done with him (especially when I learned that he passed on playing Dirk Diggler in "Boogie Nights" in order to do "Titanic"). Then in 2002 he came back with "Gangs of New York," but I wasn't convinced. Next up was "The Aviator," and while he was great I still didn't want to admit it. In 2006 he had the double whammy of "Blood Diamond" and "The Departed" and I couldn't deny it anymore. Leo is really a great actor and this sealed it. His performance was incredibly emotional (he should've coached Tiger during his press conference actually).
Fun Fact: This movie was supposed to come out in October, but Paramount decided to be cheap and wait until February. That's a shame because this could've contended for a lot of categories (if "The Blind Side" can get up for Best Picture, surely this could've). Oh, well, this film will still make a ton of money, especially since there isn't a lot of competition this week, or month, for that matter.
If you're looking for something different, there is Roman Polanski's new film (yes despite his troubles he is still making movies) "Ghost Writer" starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan. You can also catch up on seeing all of the movies that are up for Best Picture, or just sit back and watch the Winter Olympics or the NBA.
Thank You for reading and stay tuned as next week I have a ride along with Bruce Willis and Tracey Morgan in Kevin Smith's "Cop Out".
Remember you can see these fine films at your local Edwards/Regal Cinema. Click here for Santa Clarita showtimes.