Shutter Island

Really enjoyed the book, Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane, but I found Martin Scorcese’s film decidedly underwhelming.  I actually stopped watching because I was just plain bored– something I do fairly rarely.  And, I’m not one of those people who always complain that the book is better than the movie–I’m plenty happy to judge a movie on its own merits.  In this case, though, I think the screenplay made some mistakes, relative to the book, that really detracted.  The book ends with a huge twist, that has a big impact because you really don’t see it coming.  The movie, however, goes completely overboard in letting you know that reality and imagination are totally blurred, so to find out that things are not as they seem at the end, really lacks the same impact.  Mostly, the movie just way overdoes it with fantastical dreamscapes, etc., that aren’t really doing much to drive the plot, other than to show you that the main character isn’t exactly mentally stable.  Curious what thoughts others might have had.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Shutter Island

  1. Kim says:

    I would have to agree with your assessment. I remember being shocked with the twist in the book (something that rarely happens to me) — I remember thinking the twist would have more to do with the true nature of the goings-on at the facility. I don’t think I would have been shocked with the twist had I seen the movie first. There were lots of clues that things weren’t as they seemed with the main character whereas I don’t remember that in the book. Shutter Island is one of my favorite mysteries, but I wouldn’t say that about the movie. The Sixth Sense was much better suspense/mystery-wise.

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