Leonardo Di Caprio teams up with Martin Scorsese again for an old fashioned psychological crime thriller. Leonardo plays US Marshal (a bit like a cop) Teddy Daniels who starts the film travelling on a ferry to the titular island with his new partner Chuck Aule to investigate a missing person from the hospital for the criminally insane. Once on the island the staff appear to be polite but obstructive and secretive, leading Teddy to believe there is more than meets the eye to this investigation.
The film is directed beautifully as you appreciate with the hindsight of the fullness of the whole story that it has to get the actors to tread a fine line with their performances, which it manages very well. From the moment we are introduced to Teddy he looks strained and a little unwell and the atmosphere of the island serves only to make him feel more so. It is set in the years immediately post-WWII where Teddy served as a soldier and the terrible things he witnessed clearly influence who is is now and also make him intolerant of human injustices.
Ben Kingsley is absolutely fantastic as Psychiatrist Dr. John Cawley who simultaneously comes across kind and sinister, keeping you wondering what’s going on and Michelle Williams has a great supporting role as Teddy’s wife.
The soundtrack is full of parping and harrumphing as if you’ve never left the ferry from the opening scene and the story has some pretty abstract visuals. In fact, this is not for the faint hearted as there are some disturbing and sad moments.
The 2 hour running time flies by and the big final act of the film is a joy to watch.
4 on 5
Director: Marin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, Ted Levine
UK Release: 12th March 2010