The disappearance of an inmate at an insane asylum on a remote island prompts two U.S. marshals to launch an investigation there, leading to only more questions about the mysterious asylum and the people that inhabit it.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
The US has carried out numeorus experiments on its powerless citizens- people with learning disabilities, mental health problems, physical sickness, prisoners and racial minorities, as well as other nationalities; using deadly diseases, toxic and radioactive chemicals, surgical experiments, sterilising, torture etc etc. Maybe Scorsese might give us a film on that reality, instead of a Caligari horror version?
Allusions to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' can be derived from this sterling effort from Scorsese, which fails to coalesce as a whole. Its verdict on notions of perception in relation to mental health are intriguing if over-sensationalised. Hardly equivalent to early Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) but gripping all the same.
The character's trauma is a brilliantly complex fictional excuse to expose an obscure truth that articulates the first half of the film and which could be, its essence, instead of the background as we are prone to assume. Final twist invalidation is the spectator being manipulated by the director to make his point when forcing us to experience the discredit of the whole discurse of a madman prophetized by Dr. Rachel
Unlike Nolan's convenient set-in-stone division of dimensions, Scorsese traverses through and blends the real, the delusional, and dream realms—in film they're all one. Doing it unbeknownst to the viewer, relying on generic traits to sustain the illusion until the third act reveals one of cinema's great unreliable narrators. Leaving the piecing together up to the viewer, without a single answer as the right one.
A film that demands several viewings, this is an intricate puzzle put together by the maestro himself. The great cast also pushes this film along nicely delivering an intriguing and enjoyable experience.
I wasted 45 minutes before deciding a further investment of an hour was a bad idea. Edna is v generous with 1 star. Bomb, turkey, dead dodo, dud. Plot of no interest. DiCaprio more wooden than James Stewart. Dialogue almost incomprehensible - I had to put on the subtitles for the deaf but they were illiterate. And why do all "evil doctor villains" have to be played by a Briton? Ben Kingsley looked as bored as I was.
The flashbacks and dream-sequences are truly haunting and easily among the best things Marty has ever done. Call me crazy, but this is actually one of my favorite films of his. Sure, it's little more than a dark, arty genre exercise -- but it's perfectly cast, visually crisp and drum-tight.
Like Cape Fear, Scorsese takes a routine genre assignment and elevates it through references to his cinematic heroes. So, we get a hint of Powell, a touch of Welles, the punch of Fuller and some fairly obvious editing tricks cribbed from the works of Godard and Resnais. It's still incredibly flawed, but at least three sequences stand out in my mind as the most moving and adventurous work of Scorsese's recent career.