Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese float the fantastic “Shutter Island” to DVD

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: HollywoodNews.com stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we review:

Shutter Island

Recently, a friend posted this question on Facebook. What are the best/worst movies we’ve seen so far this year?

I wavered a bit on the worst (toss up between “Leap Year” and “MacGruber”), but knew that, at the halfway mark, Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” was the best thing I’ve seen in 2010.

It’s also the best of the Scorsese-DiCaprio collaborations, which has had highs (“Gangs of New York” comes to mind) and lows (“The Aviator” was more self-indulgent than the legendary director likely intended).

The duo team on an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s missing-person thriller, which stands apart from the crowd thanks to its unique setting: an isolated, island-bound asylum for the criminally insane. DiCaprio plays Teddy, a U.S. Marshall ordered to the site to locate a missing patient. But as he interacts with the peculiar staff (including Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow), he begins to question what is real and what is illusion in this carefully manipulated environment.

An admitted genre picture, “Shutter Island” taps into Scorsese’s effortless ability to squeeze tension and dark atmosphere from unsettling, imposing situations. Two experiences from Teddy’s past color his present-day visions, and both are disturbing turnkeys for the audience. Michelle Williams, in particular, stands out as Teddy’s former wife, who has a dangerous secret to share. If there’s justice in Hollywood (hahahahaha), Williams will be in the Oscar discussion come autumn.

Yet Lehane’s story isn’t one with an easy answer, so the resolution of “Shutter” likely will lead to more questions (and healthy cinematice debate, which is always fun). It also means that repeat viewings of “Shutter,” will only improve the already-captivating initial experience.

Rewatching the movie, itself, is all you get, however, as Paramount skimped on extras for the standard-issue DVD. Only previews for “Iron Man 2” and “The Last Airbender” can be found on “Shutter Island.” Reportedly more extras made their way to the studio’s Blu-ray release, so if you have the means to play enhanced DVD copies, I suggest you go that route.

The movie — ***1/2 out of 4
The DVD — ** out of 4

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