In the view of Variety‘s Todd McCarthy, Martin Scorsese‘s Shutter Island is “expert, screw-turning narrative filmmaking put at the service of old-dark-madhouse claptrap.”
I’ve seen Shutter Island myself and wholeheartedly agree about the last four words.
The film “arguably occupies a similar place in Scorsese’s filmography as The Shining does in Stanley Kubrick‘s,” McCarthy goes on. “Protean skill and unsurpassed knowledge of Hollywood genres [are used to] create a dark, intense thriller involving insanity, ghastly memories, mind-alteration and violence, all wrapped in a story about the search for a missing patient at an island asylum.”
That’s all well and good, but without story tension — which Shutter Island utterly lacks — the viewer is stuck in a theatrical asylum watching masterful Marty technique, masterful Marty technique and more masterful Marty technique.