Shutter Island: Two Movies for the Price of One

Certain movies stay with you long after you have leave the cinema. When a movie is done right, the director’s vision is so vivid that when sitting in the theater, you become Alice looking into a rabbit hole. It’s an incredible feeling, and one that undoubtedly makes you want to watch the film again (just ask the people that watched the Star Wars when it was first released. People like Christopher Nolan, who was asked about it in a recent interview.)

Another type of film that creates that “I need to watch this again” feeling, is the psychological thriller. In this genre, you know you’re watching quality when you have no idea what’s happening as with the plot movement a new mystery or twist unfolds. Then you watch the film the second time, witnessing all the hints sprinkled in the dialogue. Films like this are Nolan’s The Prestige, Villenueve’s  The Enemy, and Hitchcock’s Psycho. As such, these films run so deep that they always create fan theories and alternate interpretations of their plots. One of these, however, has been a film which has created so many debates around me and friends, family, and co-workers I think it’s worth mentioning. And rightfully so, as the film is as crazy as it’s main character, or maybe not. Scorsese’s Shutter Island.

If you haven’t watched Shutter Island to the end, I recommend you leave now! MAJOR SPOILERS ARE COMING! 

This film is loaded with so much data, it has created a division between it’s many fans. There are some who believe that as the plot implies, Teddy Daniels is actually Andrew Laeddis, a patient at Shutter Island who is put through an insane role-playing game, ultimately failing to find his true self. There are others who believe that Teddy Daniels is a detective, who after being thoroughly brainwashed by the doctors at the island, becomes a victim of their sick secret experiments.


So which is really the truth?

After watching the film several times, My theory is that the film was made to misguide and disorient the viewers, as both theories are possible outcomes, with an equal amount of arguments against each other.

Fans of the Andrew Laeddis theory bring up that Martin Scorsese already said in the special features of the film that he made the movie with Laeddis being a patient in mind. However, in his series documentary, A Personal Journey, Scorsese states that Hitchcock never gave too much information, and in his interviews and trailers, he tricked the audience into thinking the movie was about something else, and was famous for hiding things in his characters and plots, and that’s what he admired about him. Scorsese has also stated in an interview with Timeout that he screened for his colleagues Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man,” although the character in the wrong man is innocent and found guilty of murder, by the end, You feel as though you don’t know whether he committed murder or not. He’s had many other interviews on Youtube and documentaries that tell you he could’ve definitely hidden this in the film, but I will not go into them, as I have work to do! however, I encourage everyone to look up Scorsese interviews in general as the man is a genius.

The plot that Lehane wrote is as equally complex as the films. What leads me to believe that BOTH plots can be true, ultimately, is that almost every meaningful line in the film can be interpreted differently depending on what you’re focusing on. I watched the film twice. Once focusing on DiCaprio as a victim of brainwashing, and once as a Patient of Shutter Island. It was very fun to do, and the results I got watching the film this way surprised me. I hope you stay tuned to my posts to see both sides. I can’t stress enough that it’s important to keep an open mind to see both parts through.

This is the Introduction of a 2 part post summarizing the entire plot from both perspectives: Enjoy!

I will link both parts of my post in this one as I go. PART I to COME SOON!


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