- Released Internationally on 18/02/10
- Released in Malta by KRS on 17/03/10
Preview (Published 01/03/10 in Vida Magazine)
In a nutshell
The scene is a psychiatric hospital on an island, in 1954 Boston. A patient has escaped, and is assumed to be somewhere on the island. Since she has a dangerous history of multiple murders, two police officers are sent in to investigate. As tends to happen in these situations, a spot of bad weather cuts them off from the mainland, and they start to uncover much more than they bargained for.
Why we’re hyped
Based on the above synopsis, one could easily predict a cheap thriller. Three factors, however, elevate the expectations slightly. Martin Scorcese, Dennis Lehane, and the cast. Scorcese, easily one of the greatest directors alive, has more great films to his name than your average DVD library. He could probably announce that he’s making ‘The Accountant’ and we’d still expect a modern classic. In this case, though, he has a great story to work with. Dennis Lehane’s gritty Boston-set police thrillers have been made into the excellent Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone, and this is one of his more acclaimed novels. The cast is quite impressive too.
Who’s in it?
Leonardo DiCaprio has now starred in three of Scorcese’s recent films, giving some of his best performances in The Departed, The Aviator and Gangs of New York. He plays a US Marshall, and is paired with Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Zodiac). Rounding off an impressive cast that only a big name like Scorcese could have attracted are Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow and Patricia Clarkson.
Like putty in his hands
Some trips are so thrilling or so much fun that the destination is secondary. Like a Monty Python sketch that is so funny throughout it doesn’t need a punch-line, this film should provide a classy thrill ride, irrespective of whether you feel fully satisfied or not by the ending. From the very first frames it is obvious that we are in the hands of a seasoned, skilful director. Scorcese wields his directorial power confidently and with flair, using numerous devices to unsettle us in our seats. Extended dream sequences, prominent use of darkness and light, odd-looking characters that act even odder – they are all part of Scorcese’s palette, and he uses them without overdoing it. He then paints over all that he has created with stark colour and visual effects, and grandiose, atonal music. The acting is faultless, adding greatly to the sense of unease and uncertainty as we watch it grow on the faces of the protagonists. The result is a joy to watch, and a complex thriller that deserves repeat viewings. There is maybe too much spoon-feeding in the exposition phase of the film, but we are at least left with a final question mark rather than a shut case.
Not perfect, not even Scorcese's best, but easily the best film of 2010 so far.