Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, Ted Levine, John Carroll Lynch, Elias Koteas
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Psychological mystery thriller directed by Martin Scorsese. The story follows U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), who along with his new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), are investigating the implausible escape of a patient from Boston’s Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital, an insane asylum located on a remote, windswept island. The patient appears to have vanished from a locked room, and there are hints of terrible deeds committed within the hospital. As the investigation deepens, Teddy begins to doubt everything, his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.
Our Favorite Quotes:
[first lines; after being sick, Teddy washes his face and looks in the bathroom mirror]
Teddy Daniels: Pull yourself together, Teddy! Pull yourself together.
[looking out the bathroom window]
Teddy Daniels: It’s this water. It’s a lot of water!
Chuck Aule: You okay, boss?
Teddy Daniels: Yeah, I’m fine. I just, uh, I just can’t stomach the water.
[looks at Chuck]
Teddy Daniels: So, you’re my new partner?
Chuck Aule: That’s right.
Teddy Daniels: Not the best way to meet, with my head half way down the toilet.
Chuck Aule: Doesn’t exactly square with Teddy Daniels, the man, the legend, I’ll give you that.
Teddy Daniels: The legend? What the hell you boys smoking over there in Portland, anyway?
Chuck Aule: Seattle. I came from the office in Seattle.
Chuck Aule: So how about you? You got a girl? Married?
Teddy Daniels: I was.
[flash back of his wife giving him a tie]
Teddy Daniels: She died.
Chuck Aule: Jesus, I, I, don…
Teddy Daniels: Nah, don’t worry about it. There was a fire at the apartment building while I was at work. Four people died. It was the smoke that got her not the fire, so that’s important.
Chuck Aule: Sorry boss.
Teddy Daniels: Where are my goddamn cigarettes.
Chuck Aule: Well here, have one of mine.
Teddy Daniels: Could have sworn they were in my jacket before I…
Chuck Aule: Government employees will rob you blind.
Teddy Daniels: Give you a briefing about the institution before you left?
Chuck Aule: All I know is that it’s a mental hospital.
Teddy Daniels: For the criminally insane.
Chuck Aule: Yeah, if it’s just folks running around hearing voices and chasing after butterflies they wouldn’t need us.
Ferry Captain: We’ll be casting off as soon as you two are ashore. I’d appreciate it if you would hurry up about it.
Teddy Daniels: Why?
Ferry Captain: Storm’s coming.
[Teddy shows McPherson the Marshal badge on his belt]
Deputy Warden McPherson: Never seen a Marshal’s badge before. I’m Deputy Warden McPherson. Gentlemen, welcome to Shutter Island. I’ll be the one taking you to Ashecliffe.
Teddy Daniels: You boys seem a little on edge, Mr. McPherson.
Deputy Warden McPherson: Right now Marshal, we all are.
[noticing the electric barbed wire around the edges of the institution]
Teddy Daniels: Electrified perimeter.
Chuck Aule: How can you tell?
Teddy Daniels: Seen something like it before.
Deputy Warden McPherson: The red brick building on your right is Ward A, the male ward. Ward B, the female ward, is the one your left. Ward C, is that building on the bluffs, an old civil war fort, the most dangerous patients are housed there. Admittance to Ward C is forbidden without the written consent and physical presence of both myself and Dr. Cawley. Is that understood?
Teddy Daniels: You act like insanity is catching.
Deputy Warden McPherson: You are hereby required to surrender your firearms.
Teddy Daniels: Mr. McPherson, we are duly appointed Federal Marshals and we are required to carry our firearms with us at all times.
[when Teddy and Chuck are reluctant to hand over their guns]
Deputy Warden McPherson: Gentlemen, you will not get through this gate with your firearms.
[reluctantly Teddy hands over his gun. Chuck struggles to get his gun out of his holster but finally releases it and hands it over]
Teddy Daniels: When did she escape, this prisoner?
Deputy Warden McPherson: I’m afraid Dr. Cawley will have to fill you in on the situation. Protocol.
Chuck Aule: Correctional Officers at a mental institution, that’s a weird site if you don’t mind me saying.
Deputy Warden McPherson: It’s the only facility of its kind in the U.S, even the world. We take only the most dangerous, damaged patients. Ones no other hospital can manage, and it’s all due to Dr. Cawley. He’s created something real unique here.
Deputy Warden McPherson: Dr. Cawley’s been consulted numerous times, by Scotland Yard, MI5, the OSS…
Teddy Daniels: Why?
Deputy Warden McPherson: What do you mean?
Teddy Daniels: What do intelligence agencies want to consult a psychiatrist about?
Deputy Warden McPherson: I guess you’ll have to ask him.
[after McPherson leaves Teddy and Chuck in Cawley’s office]
Chuck Aule: He had a lot to say about you.
Dr. John Cawley: McPherson’s a good man, he believes in the work we do here.
Teddy Daniels: And what would that be exactly?
Dr. John Cawley: A moral fusion between law and order and clinical care.
Chuck Aule: Pardon me John, a what between what and what?
[Teddy’s looking at old paintings of mental patients on Cawley’s office wall]
Dr. John Cawley: Those paintings are quite accurate. It used to be the kind of patients we deal with here were shackled and left in their own filth. They were beaten, as if whipping them bloody would drive the psychosis out. We drove screws into their brains, we submerged in them in icy water until they lost consciousness or even drowned.
Chuck Aule: And now?
Dr. John Cawley: We treat them, try to heal, try to cure. And if that fails at least we provide them with a measure of comfort in their lives, calm.
Teddy Daniels: These are all violent offenders, right? They’ve hurt people, murdered them in some cases.
Dr. John Cawley: In almost all cases, yes.
Teddy Daniels: Then personally doctor I’d say screw their sense of calm.
Dr. John Cawley: My job is to treat my patients not their victims. I’m not here to judge.
Teddy Daniels: So this female prisoner…?
Dr. John Cawley: Patient.
Teddy Daniels: Excuse me, patient. One Rachel Solando, escaped sometime in the last twenty four hours?
Dr. John Cawley: Last night, between then and midnight.
Chuck Aule: Is she considered dangerous?
Dr. John Cawley: You could say that. She killed all three of her children. She drowned them in the lake behind her house. She took them out one by one, held their heads under until they died, then she bought them back inside and arranged them round the kitchen table. She ate a meal there before a neighbor dropped by.
Teddy Daniels: And what about the husband?
Dr. John Cawley: He died, on the beaches of Normandy. She’s a war widow. She starved herself when she first came here. She insisted the children weren’t dead.
[Cawley shows Teddy photos of Rachel]
Teddy Daniels: Sorry doctor, you don’t happen to have an aspirin do ya?
Dr. John Cawley: Prone to headaches, Marshal?
Teddy Daniels: Sometimes, but today I’m a little more prone to sea sickness.
Dr. John Cawley: Rachel still believes the children are alive. She also believes this place is her home in the Berkshires.
Teddy Daniels: [laughing] You’re kidding me?
Dr. John Cawley: Never once in two years acknowledged that she’s in an institution, she believes we’re all delivery men, milk men, postal workers. To sustain the delusion that the children never died, she’s created an elaborate fictional structure. She gives us all parts to play in that fiction.
Teddy Daniels: So you searched the grounds yet?
Dr. John Cawley: Warden and his men scoured the island. Not a trace. What’s more disturbing is we don’t know how she got out of her room. It was locked from the outside and the only windows barred. It’s as if she evaporated straight through the walls.
Teddy Daniels: Seriously doctor, how is it possible that the truth never gets through to her? I mean, she’s in a mental institution, right? Seems like something you’d notice from time to time.
Dr. John Cawley: Sanity’s not a choice, Marshal, you can’t just choose to get over it.
[to Cawley after finding Rachel had left her shoes in her room]
Chuck Aule: She left here barefoot? Come on doc, she couldn’t get ten yards in that terrain.
[examining the note Teddy’s found hidden underneath the floor board in Rachel’s room]
Dr. John Cawley: Ah, this is definitely Rachel’s handwriting. I’ve no idea what the law of four is though.
Teddy Daniels: It’s not a psychiatric term?
Dr. John Cawley: No, I’m afraid not.
Chuck Aule: [Reads note] Who is 67? Fucked if I know.
Dr. John Cawley: I have to say that’s quite close to my clinical conclusion.
Teddy Daniels: Think it’s just random scribblings?
Dr. John Cawley: No, not at all. Rachel’s smart, brilliant in fact. This paper could be important.
[goes to grab the note from Teddy]
Teddy Daniels: Excuse me doctor, but we’re going to have to hold on to this.
Dr. John Cawley: Last night there were seven men sitting at the base of those stairs playing stud poker, yet somehow Rachel managed to slip past them.
Chuck Aule: How? She turns invisible?
Teddy Daniels: Doctor, we’re going to need access to the personnel files of all the medical staff. The nurses, the guards, the orderlies, anyone who was working that…
Dr. John Cawley: We’ll take your request under consideration.
Teddy Daniels: This is not a request, doctor. This is a federal facility and a dangerous prisoner…
Dr. John Cawley: Patient.
Teddy Daniels: Patient, has escaped now. You will comply or you…
Dr. John Cawley: All I can say is I’ll see what I can do.
Teddy Daniels: Doctor, we’re going to need to speak with the staff. Do you understand?
Dr. John Cawley: I’ll assemble them in the common room after dinner. If you have any further questions feel free to join the Deputy Warden in the search.
[checking the rocks near the shore of the island]
Deputy Warden McPherson: It’s eleven miles to the nearest land and the water’s freezing. Current was strong last night, tide pushing in, she’d had drowned or crushed on the rocks and her body would have washed back up on shore.
Teddy Daniels: What about those caves down there? Have you checked them?
Deputy Warden McPherson: No way she could get there. The base of those cliffs are covered in poison ivy, live oak, sumac, thousand plants with thorns as big as my dick. You said yourself, Marshal, she’s got no shoes.
Teddy Daniels: What’s that tower?
Deputy Warden McPherson: It’s an old light house. The guards already searched inside it.
Teddy Daniels: What’s in there? More patients?
Deputy Warden McPherson: Sewage treatment facility.
[staff are gathered in the common room where they are being questioned by Teddy and Chuck]
Glen Miga: Sir, I didn’t see nothing.
Teddy Daniels: You were, and you were at your post all night?
Glen Miga: Yeah, but I didn’t see a thing.
[Glen looks down, making no eye contact]
Teddy Daniels: Glen. Glen. Tell me the truth.
Glen Miga: I maybe went to the bathroom.
Dr. John Cawley: What? You breached protocol, for Christ…
Glen Miga: I wasn’t gone for more than a minute.
[to the staff]
Teddy Daniels: Let’s all just back up. Miss Solando was put in her room for lights out. Does anyone here know what she did before that? Anyone?
Teddy Daniels: Come on! Anyone? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?
Nurse Marino: She was in a group therapy session.
Teddy Daniels: Huh. Anything unusual occur?
Nurse Marino: Define unusual.
Teddy Daniels: Excuse me?
Nurse Marino: This is a mental institution, Marshal, for the criminally insane. Usual isn’t a big part of our day.
Teddy Daniels: I will rephrase. Did anything happen last night, during group therapy that was more, let’ say, I don’t know, memorable than…
Nurse Marino: Normal?
Teddy Daniels: Exactly.
Nurse Marino: No, sorry.
Teddy Daniels: Did Miss Solando say anything during group therapy?
Nurse Marino: She was worried about the rain and she hated the food here.
[all the staff laugh]
Nurse Marino: Complained constantly, last night included.
Teddy Daniels: So you were there, was there a doctor present?
Nurse Marino: Yes, Dr. Sheehan led the discussion.
Teddy Daniels: Dr. Sheehan?
Nurse Marino: Yes, he was running the session. He’s Rachel’s primary, the psychiatrist who directly oversees her care.
Teddy Daniels: We’re going to need to speak with Dr. Sheehan.
Dr. John Cawley: I’m afraid that won’t be possible. He left on the ferry this morning. His vacation was already planned, he’d been putting it off too long.
Chuck Aule: You’re in a state of lock down. A dangerous patient has escaped and you let her primary doctor leave on vacation?
Dr. John Cawley: Well, of course. He’s a doctor.
[the staff laugh]
Teddy Daniels: Do you have phone number for where he’s gone?
Dr. John Cawley: I’m afraid I have evening rounds in the wards, but I’ll be having drinks and a cigar at my house around nine if you care to drop by.
Teddy Daniels: Good, we can talk then, right?
Dr. John Cawley: We have been talking, Marshal.
[in Cawley’s house]
Chuck Aule: Nice music. Who is that, Brahms?
Teddy Daniels: No. It’s Mahler.
Dr. John Cawley: Quite right, Marshal.