Scorsese sets the scene with impressive cinematography of the ominous island coupled with a nerve wrenching musical score that sets the viewer on edge straight away. The first half is terrific and tense, with Scorsese at his best creating a sinister feeling of dread about the island and those who work there. As no one will talk about Rachael Solando or the possibility of a 67th mystery patient, we start to doubt whom to trust along with the baffled detectives. As Teddy starts taking pills for migraines and begins to experience disturbing nightmares about the murder of his wife and his experiences of witnessing the brutality of the concentration camps he begins to question his sanity and whether his part in the investigation is as straightforward as he was led to believe.
There is a second act lull where the gripping and sinister pace of the first half is lost as Teddy explores the island and Ward C where he believes psychotropic drugs and lobotomies are being performed on patients to cure them.
The ending feels slightly clumsy and confusing as we discover Teddys part in the investigation; Is it what we suspected? Well, sort of. Scorsese leads us to think we have guessed the ending but we discover we havent realised the extent of Teddys involvement in the missing person investigation. Knowing the outcome, this film will be a satisfying second watch as the viewer can look for clues that hint at Teddys reason for being there.
Dicaprio's acting cant be faulted and he is a joy to watch. He plays the hard and traumatised detective with conviction and has a range that suggests he could play anything. He conveys barely suppressed frustration and anger at the unhelpful doctors with a look, emotional pain with a raw intensity that makes you want to look away in one particular nightmare, and takes the audience along for the ride with him. DiCaprio and Scorsese are the perfect partnership in this enjoyable but unbalanced thriller, and a second watch is recommended.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Leonardo DiCaprio [Teddy Daniels]
Mark Ruffalo [Chuck Aule]
Ben Kingsley [Dr Cawley]
Michelle Williams [Dolores Chanal]
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