Author Topic: Shutter Island  (Read 29142 times)

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RegularKarate

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #105 on: March 15, 2010, 12:14:46 PM »
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SPOILERS!

The thing is, you really need to read more into the film than what the screenplay tells you. People talk about knowing about the twist 20 minutes in, but the truth is, the ending doesn't clarify anything. What if Teddy is really a sane person and his wife died in a fire, and all that talk about him being a patient there is only a conspiracy to make him stop investigating about the place? What if the meds they gave him actually messed with his mind so much so that he doesn't know anymore what's real and what's not? What I love about this movie is that it's never clear, for a mere second, about where the ending leaves us. And that's what makes Shutter Island far more satisfying than your average thriller.

Spoilers
Then why would the last scene exist, where Mark Ruffalo is checking his sense of reality and DiCaprio's character is back to acting his original ways and Ruffalo has to nod to everyone that he has regressed back to insanity and delusion? It's a clarification scene of who is crazy because afterward DiCaprio allows nurses to walk him out like he's used to the patient treatment.

Exactly, and the whole "It might be real, it might not be" thing is nothing fresh and new.  It's a pretty common thing amongst "turns out this reality isn't what you thought" movies to be mildly ambiguous about what really happened.

I'm still waiting for a good argument for this movie being well written.

Alexandro

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #106 on: March 15, 2010, 12:26:57 PM »
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SPOILERS!

The thing is, you really need to read more into the film than what the screenplay tells you. People talk about knowing about the twist 20 minutes in, but the truth is, the ending doesn't clarify anything. What if Teddy is really a sane person and his wife died in a fire, and all that talk about him being a patient there is only a conspiracy to make him stop investigating about the place? What if the meds they gave him actually messed with his mind so much so that he doesn't know anymore what's real and what's not? What I love about this movie is that it's never clear, for a mere second, about where the ending leaves us. And that's what makes Shutter Island far more satisfying than your average thriller.



Spoilers
Then why would the last scene exist, where Mark Ruffalo is checking his sense of reality and DiCaprio's character is back to acting his original ways and Ruffalo has to nod to everyone that he has regressed back to insanity and delusion? It's a clarification scene of who is crazy because 1.) to believe in DiCaprio's position is to believe Ruffalo is a detective when he's obviously not and 2.) afterward DiCaprio allows nurses to walk him out like he's used to the patient treatment.

I agree with this. however I think teddy might not be insane enough to have forgotten the horrible things he wants to forget.
one thing is starting to make sense to me and adding more enjoyment is the actual line di caprio says about choosing between living like a good man or a monster, which implies I think that he is willingly faking insanity in the final moments as to be classified incurable and getting a lobotomy. i'm not really sure, but its an idea I got a the end and itís been growing and of ocurse it puts the film in another perspective and turns it more than a thriller into a tragedy. however I do need to see it again because frankly I don't think I paid enough attention.

tpfkabi

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #107 on: March 15, 2010, 02:19:08 PM »
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spoilers


one thing is starting to make sense to me and adding more enjoyment is the actual line di caprio says about choosing between living like a good man or a monster, which implies I think that he is willingly faking insanity in the final moments as to be classified incurable and getting a lobotomy. i'm not really sure, but its an idea I got a the end and itís been growing and of ocurse it puts the film in another perspective and turns it more than a thriller into a tragedy. however I do need to see it again because frankly I don't think I paid enough attention.

this is what i thought and briefly mentioned.

i took it he really has come out of it and is choosing that over having to live with those memories.

the grander movie question this film has brought to mind is:


Why can't a film with any type of twist ending be considered great? There are some, but generally they never are simply because of that fact.
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RegularKarate

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #108 on: March 15, 2010, 02:32:55 PM »
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Why can't a film with any type of twist ending be considered great?

Where do you get the idea that they can't or aren't?

I'm pretty sure the ratio of Terrible Movies with a twist ending to great movies with a twist endings is the same as simply Terrible Movies to Great Movies.

ElPandaRoyal

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #109 on: March 15, 2010, 04:52:43 PM »
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SPOILERS!

The thing is, you really need to read more into the film than what the screenplay tells you. People talk about knowing about the twist 20 minutes in, but the truth is, the ending doesn't clarify anything. What if Teddy is really a sane person and his wife died in a fire, and all that talk about him being a patient there is only a conspiracy to make him stop investigating about the place? What if the meds they gave him actually messed with his mind so much so that he doesn't know anymore what's real and what's not? What I love about this movie is that it's never clear, for a mere second, about where the ending leaves us. And that's what makes Shutter Island far more satisfying than your average thriller.



Spoilers
Then why would the last scene exist, where Mark Ruffalo is checking his sense of reality and DiCaprio's character is back to acting his original ways and Ruffalo has to nod to everyone that he has regressed back to insanity and delusion? It's a clarification scene of who is crazy because 1.) to believe in DiCaprio's position is to believe Ruffalo is a detective when he's obviously not and 2.) afterward DiCaprio allows nurses to walk him out like he's used to the patient treatment.

I agree with this. however I think teddy might not be insane enough to have forgotten the horrible things he wants to forget.
one thing is starting to make sense to me and adding more enjoyment is the actual line di caprio says about choosing between living like a good man or a monster, which implies I think that he is willingly faking insanity in the final moments as to be classified incurable and getting a lobotomy. i'm not really sure, but its an idea I got a the end and itís been growing and of ocurse it puts the film in another perspective and turns it more than a thriller into a tragedy. however I do need to see it again because frankly I don't think I paid enough attention.

First, you suppose Ruffalo's nod to the doctor at the end means he is regressing. That is logical, and that is the literal meaning of that scene. However, if you think like I'm thinking, it can also mean that their plan didn't quite work out, and that nodding means they'll have to lobotomize him in order for him to forget about that place. Sure, by that time, Teddy seems like he has stoppped fighting and accepting whatever they'll do to him. But let's not forget that he's a traumatized man. Either he killed his own wife, or she died in an accident, it's clear that he loved her and will always be traumatized by that. And the fact that they fucked with his mind so much, reviving memories of his lover, may cause him to accept his fate. He wants to forget it, or he'll go crazy anyway, so he goes to the lighthouse.

And that, in my opinion, is GREAT writing. Not only does it leave room for more than one interpretation, but it also ends with an amazing line: "it's better to die like a good man than living like a monster" or something like that. And even that single line is open to interpretation. But the way I see it, Teddy knows there's no way he'll get out of the island, so choses to go to the lighthouse, and "die" like the good man he believes himself to be, refusing to believe in what they want him to believe, meaning, that he's the man who murdered his wife. The movie doesn't ever make it clear that it's all a fantasy neither that it's a conspiracy, and it's up to the viewer to choose what to believe. And a screeenplay that doesn't treat you like a 9 year old and can be that ambiguous, is never poor in my book.

Either way, it's always tragic. He lost the love of his life, he has war traumas he can't surpass, and either way his memories are consuming him in a way that will make it impossible for him to lead a normal life. He will always  live in a trauma, whoever that man really is. And a movie that leaves me with these many questions, will always be worth watching in my book.

Also, on a sidenote, I totally agree that this is not the pyrothecnic work I was led to believe it was. But that's a good thing in my book. There are a lot of Scorsese movies that do that sort of thing wonderfully. In Shutter Island, it felt far more classical than I thought it would, but there's still a lot to be amazed by visually, as well as many little details that inform you about the characters and their mental state. I, for one, am loving this movie the more I think about it.
Si

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #110 on: March 15, 2010, 06:10:37 PM »
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It may not matter, but I'm still not convinced. I think what has happened is that the film tried to be open and shut with its mind fuck idea but it left theoretical possibilities open to consider other possibilities. That isn't the same as purposeful ambiguities that do want you to question and wonder about what something means. When Taxi Driver is ending and Travis Bickle is picking up the girl, the logic of the scene makes no sense but yet it has an emotional resonance to the rest of the story so it makes you wonder about the scene and question what really happens.

The final scene in Shutter Island is all too logical to explaining everything that needs explaining. One could argue that the security of the explanation is a false pretense, but if the film is banking on someone coming to that conclusion and still questioning everything, it's just bad writing. If the film still wanted to be ambiguous, it needed to end with a scene that was a lot more illogical and left things open because the scene mirrors exactly what happens in the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and how the carpet is pulled under from the audience and they have to accept a new reality because their hero is the person who is really crazy. As far as insanity goes, Shutter Island copies Cabinet of Dr. Caligari pretty thoroughly. Scorsese is honest in his film references so I don't think he's using the film reference as a scapegoat to a weak twisting of it.

There is a possibility within the line of choosing to die a good man rather than living like a monster, but it's just one line. Again I consider that bad writing because if the main connection point to an ambiguous story is one line then Scorsese is just playing with things that are better for rationalizations instead of thoroughly developed points within a film that would lead to a rational disbelief or discouragement of the sanity. Instead all the points in the film are made to epitomize a watered down version of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. When DiCaprio is trying to get to the lighthouse instead of the island, it could mean he is choosing to die a good man, but the points within the film point to him be disillusioned and psychotic and trying to rescue the lies of his insanity. I don't see how he knows he won't ever get off the island. I just see how he isn't concerned with it because the mystery is taking precedence. He's ignoring everyone who talks to him unless what they say things that tell him something that will lead him to solving the mystery. That is his main concern because when they tell him things that should make his question reality, he ignores it so he continue on his path of what he believes the truth is.

ElPandaRoyal

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #111 on: March 15, 2010, 07:36:19 PM »
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Well, I suppose we'll just see it from different angles, then. However, I still insist on the fact that the ending didn't explain anything to me. The whole thing is constructed in a way that left me wondering throughout, and even weeks after I first saw it. And we will surely disagree that it's badly written because it leaves it to you to get your own conclusions. It doesn't give straight answers, and it should not do so. It's a movie about being inside the mind of a very disturbed person who, on top of that, is being treated by some seriously fucked up "experts" with sinister motifs.

Also, I don't see how paying homage to Caligari means it needs to be talking exactly about the same thing. Sure, the protagonist's insanity is a possibility, but it's not a certainty. It evoques Caligari because the themes are the same. I insist, there is no scene in the movie that clearly indicates that he's just an insane person from the begining, apart from the scenes where Kingsley and Ruffalo try to convince Teddy of that. Those characters are not reliable (if anything, because they treat their patients with lobotomy), and the fact that the whole movie is told from Teddy's point of view never makes that completely clear. The same thing happens the other way, when Patricia Clarkson's character explains Teddy her version of what's going on. She's also not a reliable character, well, because she either 1) doesn't exist or 2) is a former patient, therefore subject to the same treatments and medication as Teddy.

Finally, and this is maybe the most arguable point of my post, and should be attributed to Dennis Lehane, I love the fact that this story takes place post-WWII and during the Cold War. Teddy and his inner struggle reflect the period of turbulence and confusion going on in the world, where the difference between good guys and bad guys is hard to tell. It's all about paranoia, yet at the same time about doing everything you can to win the fight. And so is Shutter Island.
Si

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #112 on: March 15, 2010, 07:39:43 PM »
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well I want to see it again now for sure. and at least we found something else to comment on a martin scorsese movie than a dumb fucking twist that is not even a twist.

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #113 on: March 15, 2010, 08:28:33 PM »
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Also, I don't see how paying homage to Caligari means it needs to be talking exactly about the same thing. Sure, the protagonist's insanity is a possibility, but it's not a certainty. It evoques Caligari because the themes are the same.

Sam Fuller called Dances With Wolves "homage" because it took on a similar approach to his film, Run of the Arrow. Homage was a good word because parts of Costner's film took after things unique about Fuller's film, but both films were pretty different. Shutter Island borrows from Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as a basis of logic all the way through. It's more than paying homage because it's trying to correlate a pattern of logic how the psychosis is built up and finally revealed. You don't just borrow from that logic and skip out in the end with a piece of dialogue and call that a clear break from the original. If Shutter Island was only taking elements of the logic of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, I would be with you, but it's pretty thorough.

I insist, there is no scene in the movie that clearly indicates that he's just an insane person from the begining, apart from the scenes where Kingsley and Ruffalo try to convince Teddy of that. Those characters are not reliable (if anything, because they treat their patients with lobotomy), and the fact that the whole movie is told from Teddy's point of view never makes that completely clear. The same thing happens the other way, when Patricia Clarkson's character explains Teddy her version of what's going on. She's also not a reliable character, well, because she either 1) doesn't exist or 2) is a former patient, therefore subject to the same treatments and medication as Teddy.

I'm not arguing my position is full proof, but it's as full proof as artistic understanding can get. It's like evaluating science. Science isn't based in fact but it's more about probabilities. Religion can have a technical theoretical basis in an argument just because science can't say it fully knows all, but that lack isn't a reason to say there is a real argument for the opposing side. For me, the only thing the opposing side has in this debate is that one piece of dialogue. It's not enough to reconsider all the purposeful structure and style points that specifically want you to assume certain things about the film as you're watching it. I could technically argue the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari isn't what it seems and is about a world gone mad instead of the man, but I wouldn't have much as far as substantive points go.


ElPandaRoyal

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #114 on: March 16, 2010, 05:48:26 PM »
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Sam Fuller called Dances With Wolves "homage" because it took on a similar approach to his film, Run of the Arrow. Homage was a good word because parts of Costner's film took after things unique about Fuller's film, but both films were pretty different. Shutter Island borrows from Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as a basis of logic all the way through. It's more than paying homage because it's trying to correlate a pattern of logic how the psychosis is built up and finally revealed. You don't just borrow from that logic and skip out in the end with a piece of dialogue and call that a clear break from the original. If Shutter Island was only taking elements of the logic of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, I would be with you, but it's pretty thorough.

I can't agree with you here. Not by a second. Both films are about insanity, about mentally disturbed characters, and that's why I see Scorsese looking at Caligari to pick some ideas, on how to approach the themes and the visuals. Whatever you think about Teddy in the end, he's always insane. That he already was from the beginning, that's a different story. If P.T. Anderson shows Network to his production crew before filming Magnolia, or Giant before filming There Will Be Blood, it doesn't mean he's going to make those exact same movies. It means those are good examples on how to successfully approach similar themes. That's point number one.

Point number two, let me tell you, after thinking about it for a while, I think I have more reason to believe Teddy Daniels suffered from a conspiracy than you have to believe he was insane all along. It isn't, and never was, about a line of dialogue. The movie opens with a federal marshall on a mission to find a missing patient. It hopens on a boat trip, we see Teddy and his partner getting in the island. You see him taking meds given to him by Ben Kingsley's character. You see another character in a cave telling him it's all a conspiracy. However, other people base their assumpion that Teddy was always crazy because a doctor who lobotomizes his patients tells him so. That's it. A man who cuts people's brains on an island somewhere. And you don't understand why I find it hard to believe that he'd get into all the trouble of creating a complete make up world just to see his patient recover? And then, since he doesn't recover, he lobotomizes him? I think I have every right to believe it's a conspiracy as you have to believe it's a cure. And again, that final line of dialogue doesn't make anything clear at all. Teddy either accepts being lobotomized and to die like the good man he is, or he refuses to believe that he killed his own wife, and keeps on pretending to be a marshall, a good man, and dies as such. It doesn't give you answers, it keeps you asking questions, and that's what's great about it.

I'm not arguing my position is full proof, but it's as full proof as artistic understanding can get. It's like evaluating science. Science isn't based in fact but it's more about probabilities. Religion can have a technical theoretical basis in an argument just because science can't say it fully knows all, but that lack isn't a reason to say there is a real argument for the opposing side. For me, the only thing the opposing side has in this debate is that one piece of dialogue. It's not enough to reconsider all the purposeful structure and style points that specifically want you to assume certain things about the film as you're watching it. I could technically argue the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari isn't what it seems and is about a world gone mad instead of the man, but I wouldn't have much as far as substantive points go.

Well, I'm not sure, but I believe you wrote here many times that film criticism should be about going further than what the movie tells you. Apart from the fact that I have far more in this debate than a mere line of dialogue, as I wrote above, but now I want to comment on your analogy. What science doesn't or shouldn't do, is ignore small pieces of evidence (small as they might be) in order to keep it's theories right. If there's a small detail that can put it into debate, it should be analysed, not ignored.

And yes, you can argue that Caligari is about a world gone mad. I mean, the character's gone mad, but was he always mad, or did the world transform him? If we put the movie into context, we're talking about a picture made in post-WWI Germany (1920), in a time where germans were facing an identity crisis that ultimately lead to Hitler coming to power. The movie was written under that state of identity crisis, and the character reflects that. That screenplay might not refer to it directly, but the context shouldn't be separated from the product at all. And that brings me back to what I said before on a sidenote about Shutter Island reflecting the state of paranoia going on in the world during the time its action takes place. It may, or may not be relevant to the way you see the movie, but two different pairs of eyes rarely see the same thing.
Si

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #115 on: March 16, 2010, 06:20:14 PM »
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I can't agree with you here. Not by a second. Both films are about insanity, about mentally disturbed characters, and that's why I see Scorsese looking at Caligari to pick some ideas, on how to approach the themes and the visuals. Whatever you think about Teddy in the end, he's always insane. That he already was from the beginning, that's a different story. If P.T. Anderson shows Network to his production crew before filming Magnolia, or Giant before filming There Will Be Blood, it doesn't mean he's going to make those exact same movies. It means those are good examples on how to successfully approach similar themes. That's point number one.

Considering I'm arguing the results of what a film turned into and how it compares with the end results and not what was screened beforehand for the crew to keep in mind as inspiration what the film could resemble, I'm pretty sure we're talking about two different points of influence. Filmmakers screen lots of films before they start making a film for various reasons. I would never start arguing that doing that is the same as a film taking after a previous film on substantive levels. I don't even think it's comparable.

Point number two, let me tell you, after thinking about it for a while, I think I have more reason to believe Teddy Daniels suffered from a conspiracy than you have to believe he was insane all along. It isn't, and never was, about a line of dialogue. The movie opens with a federal marshall on a mission to find a missing patient. It hopens on a boat trip, we see Teddy and his partner getting in the island. You see him taking meds given to him by Ben Kingsley's character. You see another character in a cave telling him it's all a conspiracy. However, other people base their assumpion that Teddy was always crazy because a doctor who lobotomizes his patients tells him so. That's it. A man who cuts people's brains on an island somewhere. And you don't understand why I find it hard to believe that he'd get into all the trouble of creating a complete make up world just to see his patient recover? And then, since he doesn't recover, he lobotomizes him? I think I have every right to believe it's a conspiracy as you have to believe it's a cure. And again, that final line of dialogue doesn't make anything clear at all. Teddy either accepts being lobotomized and to die like the good man he is, or he refuses to believe that he killed his own wife, and keeps on pretending to be a marshall, a good man, and dies as such. It doesn't give you answers, it keeps you asking questions, and that's what's great about it.

So your idea is that while he was investigating the crime, the doctors were feeding him pills that allowed him to draw back on memories of his tortured past and make him go insane for exactly one night but also allow him to perfectly return to normal the next morning and act as if nothing happened? That makes no sense and is silly. It's a Hollywood fantasy. The person he is at the beginning is the same person he is by the end scene of the film. It does make psychological sense for someone who is insane to have a momentary lapse and come out of their delusional world but slip right back into the threshold of their trauma.

And yes, you can argue that Caligari is about a world gone mad. I mean, the character's gone mad, but was he always mad, or did the world transform him? If we put the movie into context, we're talking about a picture made in post-WWI Germany (1920), in a time where germans were facing an identity crisis that ultimately lead to Hitler coming to power. The movie was written under that state of identity crisis, and the character reflects that. That screenplay might not refer to it directly, but the context shouldn't be separated from the product at all. And that brings me back to what I said before on a sidenote about Shutter Island reflecting the state of paranoia going on in the world during the time its action takes place. It may, or may not be relevant to the way you see the movie, but two different pairs of eyes rarely see the same thing.

I don't deny the societal reflections that were intended. I just don't believe it meant to shine in the lead character the way you believe it could have.

ElPandaRoyal

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #116 on: March 16, 2010, 06:40:56 PM »
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I can't agree with you here. Not by a second. Both films are about insanity, about mentally disturbed characters, and that's why I see Scorsese looking at Caligari to pick some ideas, on how to approach the themes and the visuals. Whatever you think about Teddy in the end, he's always insane. That he already was from the beginning, that's a different story. If P.T. Anderson shows Network to his production crew before filming Magnolia, or Giant before filming There Will Be Blood, it doesn't mean he's going to make those exact same movies. It means those are good examples on how to successfully approach similar themes. That's point number one.

Considering I'm arguing the results of what a film turned into and how it compares with the end results and not what was screened beforehand for the crew to keep in mind as inspiration what the film could resemble, I'm pretty sure we're talking about two different points of influence. Filmmakers screen lots of films before they start making a film for various reasons. I would never start arguing that doing that is the same as a film taking after a previous film on substantive levels. I don't even think it's comparable.

We are talking about the same thing, we just look at it differently I guess. I don't think it makes sense that just because a movie shares similar themes with another, it can't go into a different direction. The examples I gave before are just a proof of that. Even if Shutter Island was a remake of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, it could end differently. I really don't see the issue here. They share themes, they don't have to share the exact same storyline. And I insist that in the end, Shutter Island doesn't give answers anyway. It leaves questions.

Point number two, let me tell you, after thinking about it for a while, I think I have more reason to believe Teddy Daniels suffered from a conspiracy than you have to believe he was insane all along. It isn't, and never was, about a line of dialogue. The movie opens with a federal marshall on a mission to find a missing patient. It hopens on a boat trip, we see Teddy and his partner getting in the island. You see him taking meds given to him by Ben Kingsley's character. You see another character in a cave telling him it's all a conspiracy. However, other people base their assumpion that Teddy was always crazy because a doctor who lobotomizes his patients tells him so. That's it. A man who cuts people's brains on an island somewhere. And you don't understand why I find it hard to believe that he'd get into all the trouble of creating a complete make up world just to see his patient recover? And then, since he doesn't recover, he lobotomizes him? I think I have every right to believe it's a conspiracy as you have to believe it's a cure. And again, that final line of dialogue doesn't make anything clear at all. Teddy either accepts being lobotomized and to die like the good man he is, or he refuses to believe that he killed his own wife, and keeps on pretending to be a marshall, a good man, and dies as such. It doesn't give you answers, it keeps you asking questions, and that's what's great about it.

So your idea is that while he was investigating the crime, the doctors were feeding him pills that allowed him to draw back on memories of his tortured past and make him go insane for exactly one night but also allow him to perfectly return to normal the next morning and act as if nothing happened? That makes no sense and is silly. It's a Hollywood fantasy. The person he is at the beginning is the same person he is by the end scene of the film. It does make psychological sense for someone who is insane to have a momentary lapse and come out of their delusional world but slip right back into the threshold of their trauma.

Well, I don't see how taking a pill would turn him completely crazy overnight. If you do drugs, you go delusional, and then you go back to normal. No treatment works overnight, we can all agree on that. The thing is, given Teddy's fragile state of mind, the revival of his darkest memories could make him more fragile and more easily subject to manipulation. Don't forget that he takes pills the moment he walks on that island and that, according to Patricia Clarkson's character, everything they give him and feed him can be poisoned. If the drugs can affect his mind, it can be more easily manipulated. Of course we're in movie universe, in a Hollywood fantasy, but that's not even the point. The point is that the possibility that Teddy is being medicated and made to act a certain way is there.

And yes, you can argue that Caligari is about a world gone mad. I mean, the character's gone mad, but was he always mad, or did the world transform him? If we put the movie into context, we're talking about a picture made in post-WWI Germany (1920), in a time where germans were facing an identity crisis that ultimately lead to Hitler coming to power. The movie was written under that state of identity crisis, and the character reflects that. That screenplay might not refer to it directly, but the context shouldn't be separated from the product at all. And that brings me back to what I said before on a sidenote about Shutter Island reflecting the state of paranoia going on in the world during the time its action takes place. It may, or may not be relevant to the way you see the movie, but two different pairs of eyes rarely see the same thing.

I don't deny the societal reflections that were intended. I just don't believe it meant to shine in the lead character the way you believe it could have.

Well, I guess we just belive in different things, then. It's just that I'm right and you're wrong. (joking here, of course.)
Si

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #117 on: March 16, 2010, 06:55:51 PM »
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Yes, this conversation is almost over. Thanks for participation, but no one is going to convince the other here.


We are talking about the same thing, we just look at it differently I guess. I don't think it makes sense that just because a movie shares similar themes with another, it can't go into a different direction. The examples I gave before are just a proof of that. Even if Shutter Island was a remake of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, it could end differently. I really don't see the issue here. They share themes, they don't have to share the exact same storyline. And I insist that in the end, Shutter Island doesn't give answers anyway. It leaves questions.

I think Shutter Island is borrowing more from Dr. Caligari than you think. I said it borrows heavily storywise, but more importantly, it borrows a certain logic from it as well. Shutter Island would have needed to change more things than it does to begin to really play with the conventions of the previous film. By taking a lot from Caligari and trying to switch things up by changing a few anecdotal points I don't think is enough of a sea change from the previous film. That's why I believe Scorsese was honoring the original.

Well, I don't see how taking a pill would turn him completely crazy overnight. If you do drugs, you go delusional, and then you go back to normal. No treatment works overnight, we can all agree on that. The thing is, given Teddy's fragile state of mind, the revival of his darkest memories could make him more fragile and more easily subject to manipulation. Don't forget that he takes pills the moment he walks on that island and that, according to Patricia Clarkson's character, everything they give him and feed him can be poisoned. If the drugs can affect his mind, it can be more easily manipulated. Of course we're in movie universe, in a Hollywood fantasy, but that's not even the point. The point is that the possibility that Teddy is being medicated and made to act a certain way is there.

I think if someone was driven to a breaking point where their delusions took over, it would last longer than one night. There would be more carry over effect even if it was just temporary, but not only does it quickly end, but it allows DiCaprio to return to his original demeanor with little lasting impressions. Doesn't add up for me. That's all.


ElPandaRoyal

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #118 on: March 16, 2010, 07:13:05 PM »
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Allrighty then. You made valid points, I just don't agree with most but it was a great discussion for me. I love talking about Shutter Island, and I believe it's going to be among the best movies of 2010.
Si

Alexandro

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Re: Shutter Island
« Reply #119 on: March 18, 2010, 08:38:32 AM »
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SPOILERS

Saw it again. I enjoyed it a lot more and was of less bothered by the twist this time around. Yet is hard for me to fly with the premise of this thing.

I don't believe the it's ambiguous anymore. The last scene clearly shows with precision what is going on. The doctors check on him one more time, and he acts crazy. Ruffalo nods, Kingsley is clearly disappointed and agrees to lobotomize him. The master touch is then executed when DiCaprio says that line where he is obviously implying that he prefers to have a lobotomy than continue living with his new found sanity. Not only that but Ruffalo senses this yet he doesn't stop him from standing up and walking with the nurses at his side, who we have seen seconds before with a the lobotomy tools wrapped in a towel.

In the end, I think the film is uneven. It has a great start but around the middle there is an ABUSE of exposition. I'm thinking expressively of the mausoleum scene, which was NOTHING but a lame excuse for exposition via dialogue.  It's also very weakly done how Ruffalo and DiCaprio just walk around and get into the forbidden parts of the Island, and Ruffalo going missing for no reason once in the Ward C. The way characters just talk and talk about the plot eliminates the tension. It is interesting once, but try it a second time and it becomes tiresome.

Yet despite these serious faults the film manages to be entertaining and tense. As the story progresses it becomes more hallucinatory and visually interesting. The Ward C sequence is good scary fun, and Jack Earl Haley makes the most of his screentime. The cave scene is very cleverly shot and Patricia Clarkson owns it. (I liked the way a lot of the supporting parts are played by actors who have been psychos in other movies, like Early haley, the buffalo bill guy, ben kinglsey, john patrick lynch, etc., it's a nice touch).

And let's not forget the subtext, which is I suspect the reason Scorsese felt for the film, as it is clearly an exploration of postwar paranoia in USA (and who knows, maybe is not only postwar WWII, but postwar in general), with DiCaprio representing within himself the basic moral ambivalence of a society that fought and won a horrific war and was then facing a new one, choosing in the end to "die a good man". It is certainly more interesting than it seems.

However, though I appreciate the effort of making a B-Picture in the classical sense, with haunted house, crazy scientists, pulpy theories, etc...i can't forgive the film for it's basic flaw of spending such a long period of it's running time in dialogue explaining what should be shown with actions and images. the twist I don't mind that much the second time, or the pulpy conventions. it is a b movie at heart and that's great, but then it should be more fun in the middle, when it drags forever.

 

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