Set in the 1950's, we first see Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio - effectively edgy, nervous), a U.S. federal marshal, sea sick on a boat that is taking him with his new investigative partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo - complementing well) to an island that houses the criminally insane. A female inmate has disappeared from her locked room, "As if she evaporated through the walls," as the institution head Dr. Cawley (a superb Ben Kingsley) puts it.
Teddy has his own share of trauma, memories of his dead wife and nightmares of concentration camps. Things seem to get worse as a storm sets in and the investigators are unable to leave the island. As Teddy suspects, things are not as they look and there is something horrible that is going on in Shutter Island. Then there are hallucinations and nightmares, as the line between reality and illusion is dissolved, Teddy seems to be falling in to a deep dark well...
Director Martin Scorsese's first attempt in the psychological thriller genre holds our attention all through, even as he turns the tables on us in a shattering climax. There are, in retrospect, some convenient plot elements put in, but they pale in comparison to a movie that is surely worth revisiting.
The eerie, yet delicately positioned background music; the last mesmerising line of dialogue.