Shutter Island: the secrets of Martin Scorsese’s disturbing film

Shutter Island: the secrets of Martin Scorsese's film
Secrets of Shutter Island (YouTube photo screen) –

What are the secrets of “Shutter Island”, a film full of secrets and suspense directed by Martin Scorsese.

The film “Shutter Island” was released in 2010 and remains one of the most striking works of the famous New York director. A piece of his filmography, dedicated to a genre that the director is not used to. Psychological thriller based on the novel by Dennis Lehane.

In addition to Scorsese protégé Leonardo DiCaprio, the cast also includes Mark Ruffalo. The plot of the film tells the story of two sheriffs who are sent to a psychiatric hospital located on the island to investigate the disappearance of a woman. The clinic is called Ashecliffe, and the missing patient is Rachel Dolando.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Edward “Teddy” Daniels, Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Owl. During the investigation, both realize that The institute is permeated with a gloomy and disturbing aura. An atmosphere full of paranoia is created, which makes the two doubt everything.

Shutter Island is one of those films that is so twisty in nature that it can be watched over and over again to discover new details and nuances that went unnoticed during previous viewings. But what are its secrets or details that not everyone noticed when watching the famous film? Beware of spoilers in the following paragraphs.

The secrets of “Shutter Island”: Martin Scorsese’s vision of one of his most disturbing films

Martin Scorsese naturally took care of every detail of the film, trying to completely immerse the viewer in its heartbreaking atmosphere. We start, as always, with music. fundamental in this sense.

At the beginning of the film the director inserted song by composer György Ligeti, called “Lontano”, which also appeared in one of the most beloved horror films of all time. “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick at various moments of tension. This was done so that the audience would immediately understand what their fate would be if they continued to watch the film.

In the hospital, patients are dangerous criminals behind serious crimes. At some point, one of them is heard whispering a chilling phrase: “Stop me before I kill anyone else.” The very disturbing statement was probably inspired by serial killer who really existed active in Chicago in the 1940s: William Heirens.

Shutter Island: Mysteries and Vision of Martin Scorsese
Secrets of Shutter Island (YouTube screen) –

The man was known as the “Lipstick Killer” and after his arrest he became one of the longest serving inmates in Illinois, spending more than 65 years in prison. In fact, his sentence written in lipstick on the apartment wall one of his victims was somewhat different: “For God’s sake, catch me before I kill more, I can’t control myself.”

One of the film’s biggest twists comes with the revelation that Daniels’ partner Chuck is not a cop, but a psychiatrist at the same hospital where they are investigating. A detail that actually becomes clear from the very beginning when the two are asked to hand over their guns: it becomes clear that Chuck cannot properly handle a gun.

Later in the film, Daniels questions Peter Breen (Christopher Denham) and things quickly begin to spiral out of control. At a certain point, the noise he makes with the notepad irritates the patient and makes him hostile. This causes a physical altercation between the two and Chuck uses his left hand to return Daniels to his place.

But at the same time, we see his right-hand man calling for the hospital staff to take Peter back to his room. This makes it clear how Chuck therefore, he was responsible for the entire situation.

Secrets of Shutter Island
Martin Scorsese, the message of Shutter Island (YouTube screen) –

Throughout the film, there is an atmosphere of anxiety in the hospital. At one point, Teddy Daniels remarks that Some guards are visibly nervous. At that moment, the nervousness seemed to be related to the question of the missing patient.

At the end of the film we understand that it was connected with something completely different. In fact, it turned out that Daniels in fact, he is a hospital patient himself, who was allowed to realize his fantasy. This is the role of the U.S. Marshal investigating the case. And all in the hope that this will help him get rid of paranoia and accept the truth about his tragic past. So when the guards say they’re nervous, this is what they mean: Daniels, the most dangerous patient in the entire hospital, is on the loose.

For their part, the criminals present in the establishment, who are interrogated by two fake sheriffs, also continue the farce. One of the first patients Daniels met he greets him and laughs. Another puts a finger to his lips.n sign of conspiracy. From their point of view, it must be quite funny to see one of their “colleagues” putting on this “little theater.”

Shutter Island: the secrets of Scorsese's film
A little-known behind-the-scenes story behind Shutter Island (YouTube screenshot) –

Key moment of the film undoubtedly contained in the lake scene, when Daniels realizes his wife killed their children. An act that creates mental instability in a person and plunges him into chaos. We witness these events through flashbacks, and some parts of these scenes are filmed in reverse.

For example, there is a scene that ends with Daniels smoking, which is noticeable when viewed up close. The smoke goes into the cigarette and does not come out. His wife Dolores, played by Michelle Williams, can also be seen walking backwards from the lake.

With this effect, Scorsese clearly wanted to recreate a dreamlike state in his narrative. With the goal of making the public feel that something is wrong. That’s exactly how Andrew feels when he returns home and makes a terrible discovery.

As we realize towards the end of the film, everything we saw in Shutter Island was an attempt by the staff at Ashecliffe Hospital. destroy Andrew’s illusions by allowing him to interpret the role of American Sheriff Teddy Daniels. And in the film’s final moments, we discover that the treatment worked, at least for a while, and Andrew remembers his true self.

Shutter Island: the secrets of Scorsese's film
Cast of the film Shutter Island (photo by Ansa) –

That treatment really pays off A small detail tells us this. DiCaprio’s character believes that an arsonist named Andrew Laeddis killed his wife in a fire. Because Daniels’ mind tries to convince itself that he is not Andrew himself, he is unable to light the matches. After all, according to Daniels, fire is inextricably linked with Andrew, so it should be avoided.

However, later in the film we see Daniels begin to light his matches, suggesting that he is beginning to accept the truth about his relationship with Andrew, revealing that the treatment really works.

Scorsese often uses two elements in the film, symbolizing denial and acceptance: Fire and Water. The fire represents the denial of Daniels’ true identity, which is why it is always clearly visible when he is suffering from delusion. Everything is naturally connected with the death of his wife. The water symbolizes Daniels’ journey to accepting the truth about himself.

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