I had know there was a plot twist and that may have affected my viewing experience. Having said that, the beginning and the first 30 minutes of tension in that film and of DiCaprio's eagerness as a detective sets us up for something like that, for a mise en abyme which is no longer a surprise and the cleaver plot twist is so cleaver, it is quite elaborate and anti-climatic. Not a rewatchable like so many by Scorsese.
this is one of those films that makes you wonder what the fuck is going on during its 2 hours+. and it's very good, I didn't get bored, but it made me anxious. Leo gave one of his best performances (that I have seen) and the cinematography, editing, effects... everything was beautifully done. I, not even for ONE second, never guessed what was going on on that fucking island.
Is reality really so cheaply secured as in the last 20 minutes of Shutter Island? The film's aesthetics-as-technical-exercise, coupled with its sensationalized representations of (historical and personal) trauma, left me cold. Mildly redeemed by some of the supporting characters, whose performances nuance the line between performativity and madness. A decent film to think against, though, in a pedagogical setting.
An experiment in blending places and personalities - while making use of horror elements and maintaining a neo-noir atmosphere. Ambitious, fairly successful, and highly entertaining - the drawback would be the overly convoluted (but somehow still ambiguous) resolution and the half-assed commentary on psychiatric practices. What could've been a head-scratcher becomes more or less implausible from every angle.
Reliance on paranoia and misdirection can take a lot out of a good script because it becomes difficult to know what to believe, but what I liked about this film is the way it managed to tell two very different narratives that complement each other and ultimately share the same message.
Lack of subtlety in its visual clues makes for an easy guess and spoils the major plot twist of the movie too early. A second viewing was a drag. Great soundtrack. Nifty camerawork. Hated the soundproofing and cheapness of some characters and "scary" moments. DiCaprio's face is huge. Sir Ben is a charm. Extra points for Leo's tie.