Monday, March 08, 2010

Just so you know...
If someone offers you a choice between the two following options:
1. See the new Scorsese film "Shutter Island"
or
2. Get your eye poked by a sharp stick,
my recommendation is that you take a good, long look at the stick in question. If it seems to be relatively clean and free of any obvious splinters, you should go with the stick. Chances are, you'll be fine, with some good medical care.

Maybe your eye won't thank me for this bit of wisdom, but your brain will. Your brain does NOT want to deal with "Shutter Island".
Trust me.

What's not to like? (spoiler alert: if you're determined to see this film despite my good advice, you'd best get off the bus here)

Well, most obviously, there's Leo DiCaprio's squinting and brow-furrowing ("acting").

There's the distracting accents. Somewhere between the dialect coaching sessions and the eventual performances, something went horribly, terribly wrong. I know people from Boston and they really don't sound like that. At all.
There's the overwrought "scary" score that I would have expected from a brand new, not too smart filmaker. Some subtletly, please? If something is frightening, I don't need jangy, staccato piano notes and/or screechy strings to tell me so.
There's the threadbare "suspense" plot that gives away the ending with ten minutes of the opening shot.
There's a horrific, drawn-out-beyond-the-realms-of-good-taste scene near the end which is completely gratuitous (because the audience already knows the details of the traumatic event) and seems to be there just for the shock value of seeing small dead children and giving DiCaprio another chance to over-act.
And don't even get me started on the Dachau scenes. Just don't.

About 30 minutes into the film, I leaned over to JP and whispered "Scorsese has lost his freaking mind."

Not that I've ever been a big Scorsese fan. Lots of his films are about the mafia (Casino, The Departed, Goodfellas) and one (considered by many to be his best) is about boxing (Raging Bull). These are two subjects that are completely uninteresting to me (as are race car driving, football and watching paint dry) and I go out of my way to avoid movies about these things, even if they are supposed to be "good" ones.
Another problem is that Scorsese made many of his films in the 1970's . This was an era in film-making when it was fashionable to make everything look like crap. Really ugly crap. On the big screen, even the most glamorous movie stars looked like homeless heroin addicts. (In fact, even the "adorable" orphan in Disney's 'Pete's Dragon' (1977) looked like a homeless heroin addict!) I was only a kid, but I couldn't help but notice that things in movieland had suddenly gotten ugly, dirty and sexual (in a cheap, scary kind of way).
We're just lucky Scorsese and his ilk never got a hold of "The Sound of Music".

The only Scorsese film that I admire is "The Gangs of New York". The whole "gritty realism" thing worked to bring to life a very realistic mid-19th century city in a way that I don't think had been seen before and hasn't since. But maybe I'm biased because I'm an archaeologist and have spent a lot of time trying to imagine the past and he did a great job with the historical aspects.

The above is just to flash my credentials as a non-Scorsese-worshipping filmgoer. I won't, as so many seem to be doing, cut him any slack on this one. It's NOT a good film and you shouldn't waste your time.

My only two consolations are that
a. we went to a cheap show and only paid 4 euros each to get in
and
b. I still have both of my eyes intact.


(Many thanks to blogger/artist Sean McGlinchey for the use of his crazy sketch. Check out more of his stuff here)

5 comments:

Joy said...

LOLOL! While I am sorry that you sat through a bad movie (which is why I like to rent - it's easier to read a good book through a bad movie that someone else insists on finishing), I did appreciate the laugh today that your review provided. And I am glad that you still have both eyes intact. ;)

Joy said...

And I love the new look, Beth!!

oreneta said...

Love the new look, love it! Hate Scorsese and always have, so thanks for the review, I wouldn't have gone anyway....

Blech.

Love the background!

Beth said...

Thanks! It was Tya who encouraged me to be brave and try to "pimp my blog". I was SO afraid of accidentally erasing four years of work! But changing the decor turned out to be idiot-proof!

(I'm never, ever going to see the new Polanski film, btw. Rather poke out BOTH my eyes. He's a grotesque old creep and that's the nicest thing I can think to say about him.)

babzee said...

I'm not reading this post yet. You know I have already rejected the film thanks to the experiences of you and two other savvy filmgoers, but I since learned the Dennis Lehane, a very brilliant writer, was responsible for the book, so I bought that. Will read it as soon as I've finished "Dracula the Undead" (the sequel, written recently by Bram Stoker's great-nephew). It is quite good! Anyway, "Mystic River" and "Gone, Baby, Gone" were very good Lehane books which made lousy movies, IMHO.