Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shutter Island

I had an inkling before I saw Shutter Island of what The Twist was going to be, and hoped I was going to be wrong, the better to be surprised. I ended up being right, and though it's not as damaging to the rest of the movie as it could be, it doesn't do it any favors, and that's still a problem.

I very much enjoyed the ride up until the point that it pulls the rug out, at which point everything basically started over from square one. That's not true in, say, Fight Club; Edward Norton's Narrator actually being Tyler Durden doesn't in any way negate the development their relationship has undergone. It's one more complication that sends the third act towards a conclusion (Tyler vs. The Narrator) that's literally been building since the beginning of the movie.

Rather than enhancing the themes and conflicts that we've been watching unfold for the last two hours, Shutter Island's Big Twist throws them completely out. To its credit it takes a good twenty minutes to try to square this new circle, and the performers are all game, but it doesn't change the fact that an entirely new story arc is beginning and ending in less than a half hour, mostly as an apology for having essentially wasted our time.

'Wasted our time' doesn't exactly do justice to what I'm trying to say, because I actually did say I liked everything before the switch. It's not time wasted, but cheated; the movie is cheating on its audience, and coming from a broken home, I don't take kindly to infidelity.

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