Let's face it, cinematic realism is a red herring. When watching masterful cinema, whether the projected story is fact, fiction or fantasy is not an issue, such is the engrossing property of the moving image. It is a flickering lie, and it fills our eyes with illusion and magic.
In Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese builds a psychological thriller that looks intently at madness, and the blurring of reality and imagination that comes with it. Adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), the film stars Scorsese stalwart Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels, a 1950s US Federal Marshal who is sent to the titular location - which is home to an isolated, high security institution for the criminally insane - as part of a case. Initially tasked with investigating the disappearance of Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer), one of the island's patients, Daniels slowly progresses through a mental ordeal - traversing trauma, nightmare and memory - that excavates his recent past - namely family tragedy, and the innocence-staining experience of World War 2.
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