"A twist of 'Shutter Island' spoiled."

By Bob Zerull

For the second weekend in a row, Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” is the number one movie at the box office. I just want to begin by saying that this is not a movie review. If you want a movie review of “Shutter Island” check out Sean Patrick Kernan’s review here: "Martin Scorsese disappoints with 'Shutter Island.'"

This is a response to Owen Gleiberman’s article in “Entertainment Weekly” related to “Shutter Island” here: "'Shutter Island': Did you see the twist ending coming?"

Owen’s article asks who saw the “twist” in “Shutter Island” coming, because he did not. I saw it coming from the first time I saw the trailer almost a year ago. The reason I saw the twist coming wasn’t because I’m smarter than Owen. It seems that almost every other horror movie that comes out has to have a lame twist, so I’d like to think I’ve seen it all. ”Shutter Island” is not about the “twist,” but I’d still argue that if this movie came out twenty or thirty years ago nobody would have seen the twist coming.

Be forewarned, the remainder of this post will contain major *SPOILERS,* so if you don’t want the “twist” ruined, stop reading right now. “Shutter Island” is an island that houses a mental institution run by Dr. Cawley, played by Ben Kingsley. Cawley’s institution tries to treat the insane in the most humane way possible. They want to make the patients better, and in order to do that, the patients have to realize that they are insane.

Insane people make up their own reality. Andrew Laeddis, played by Leonardo DiCaprio has created his own reality where his name is Edward (Teddy) Daniels (which is just Andrew Laeddis rearranged) and he has discovered that the mental institution is running experiments on the patients. He needs to get off the island to tell the world and bring down the institution. Dr. Cawley has not had much success reaching Laeddis, so he decides to allow Laeddis to play out this story in his alternate reality. The results are fascinating.

The reason I believe that “Shutter Island” works and shouldn’t be considered a cheater is because the story is full of hallucinations and inconsistencies that only an insane person would experience. A movie that I felt cheated and didn’t work was “Haute Tension.” In order for the twist in “Haute Tension” to work, the main character had to be in two places at once, which is not possible. There is nothing like that in “Shutter Island.” It’s not a movie about a cop chasing an unknown criminal only to discover he’s the criminal. It’s about of a former federal agent, who has gone insane after his wife kills his kids and he kills her, and his journey to discovering his insanity.

Upon a second viewing I believe that many of the people or critics who did not like “Shutter Island,” because of the over used twist will have a new appreciation for the film, because they’ll be watching a totally different movie. “Shutter Island” is a work of pure genius, not just a lazy horror movie hoping that you get fooled by its lazy twist.


Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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