Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Shutter Island

My rating: 8/10

This film had already been sold to me since the very first advert I saw of it on TV. On realising it was the newest release of Martin Scorsese, I didn't feel the need to find out anymore about it. As a result I went to see this film with only two expectations. The first, that I would see Leonardo Dicaprio and the second, that it would be a thriller based genre.

We are thrown into the beginning by seeing our protagonist Edward, (Dicaprio) showing lots of anxiety relating to sea sickness. As a result of being thrown straight into this feeling, we are allowed to feel the sense of uneasiness that we will continue to feel throughout the entirety of the film. We are introduced to Edward's partner, Chuck, soon after in which we see them both arrive on 'Shutter Island'. It is this point that we understand Edward is a federal marshall sent to investigate the disappearance of one of Shutter Island's mental patients.

The film then sends us on a wild goose chase full to the brim with mystery and intregue. We embark upon Edward's journey in which he uncovers conspiracys within the hospital staff and in his attempt to escape and spread the truth about the lies that have been covered up over the years.

Although this film is quite long, it is still a very exciting watch. There is a lot going on throughout it's entirety and we are constantly finding out more about the truth of the characters and the system at Shutter Island, as well as finding out more about Edward's traumatic past.

Scorsese's essence is apparant so much within this film that it is hard not to draw comparisons with the likes of 'Cape Fear'. Both feel quite disturbing to watch and involve particular scenes that are eerie and make us feel uncomfortable. His camerawork is brilliant in following through with the mystery in very subtle ways. He allows suspense to build up and at various points takes his time when revealing a new character, by involving a slow pan until we meet said. The wary way in which this is done can almost be seen as a parallel to the caution that we know is felt by our lead character. It is these subtle details that are included and just slightly add to the whole feeling of the film, that make people like Scorsese become even more credible to me.

It is quite a chilling film to witness at some points with the inclusion of violence, mental health, rats and many moments that are quite scary. However all these things feel necessary in order for the plotline to become more accessable and in order to keep the pace at a fast level of movement and intensity.

The ending, I love (but don't worry I won't spoil it for you) as it leaves us to question. Endings like this are brilliant as it forces you into a discussion about the film after the viewing. And like this film, the more you reflect upon it, the more you realise how good it truely is. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who can appreciate complex storylines and enjoys a good thriller. My expectations that were already high, soared even higher after I had viewed this, I feel I can say with great pleasure it is a very comendable film. Great actors. Great director. Great soundtrack. Great editing. Go see for yourself.

Monday, 8 March 2010


My rating: 9/10

I distinctly remember the release of this film in 2007, and this is for two reasons only. The first was the recently reformed Take That's latest song being the soundtrack to the trailer, and the second was the fact it starred Claire Danes in it of whom I recall thinking that I had heard nothing of since 'Romeo and Juliet' in 1996. The fact that it was only these two factors that remained in my mind shows how much of a rush I wasn't in to go and see this film.

The Second time this film came about into my life was when my dad brought it home on DVD. My mother and himself sat down and watched it one evening and my dad (who's opinion on film I greatly respect) told me it was good. Even so, I still felt apathetic towards it. Had I been in the room with them, then I would most definitely have watched it. However I was not, and so it remained that I did not watch the film.

Flash forward three years later, 'Stardust' makes it's terrestrial premier on Channel 4. Having seen it advertised all week, my boyfriend and I decided that we would watch it. To say the film is good would be an understatement. I have no idea why I had been apathetic towards this film for so many years!

As the name might suggest, Stardust is a very magical film. The film's concept is of a supernatural realm called "Stormhold" that is just on the other side of a wall keeping it separate from England. Our protagonist "Tristan" crosses this wall in an attempt to capture a falling star for the girl, Victoria, who he is devotedly in love with. Although Tristan finds the star, "Yvaine" who is actually a girl, fairly easily, he is not the only one who is after her. Amongst Tristan vying for Yvaine's possession is the decaying witch Lamia who seeks her for eternal youth and immortality, and Septimus. Septimus desires Yvaine as she is wearing a necklace that will be the key to him gaining his father's throne to rule the land.

Yvaine quickly learns of the dangers she is in if she should end up in the wrong hands, so trusting Tristan they set off back to "Wall village" so he can prove his love for Victoria before sending Yvaine home. They encounter a few different people on their adventure, gaining capture aboard Captain Shakespeare's ship (Robert De Niro) and suffering at the hands of the witches. But of course they're journey comes to an end and we eventually see the magical conclusion that we desire.

This film is enchanting from the start. Each corner it takes leaves you burning with desire to see what will happen next and what more magic will arise from this beautiful unknown world. The cinematography is amazing as it creates perfect visually stunning framework that draw parallels with the stunning world of Stormhold and the magnificent fantasies of our minds that it acts out. It is enriched with originality and the complex yet simple script is truly refreshing and brilliant.

The cast is great and has many well known names in, however our protagonist's (Danes and Cox) have been doctored to be more unfamiliar names which I firmly believe is a clever mechanism for drawing us into the characters's likeability instead of being drawn to our own personal opinion's on the actor. With the likes of Ricky Gervais playing a merchant and David Walliams playing one of the dead brothers, we are shown a lot of familiar British comedy that makes the film seem more endearing as we can see the real depths the British writers have managed to incorporate.

Although admittedly there are a few moments which seem a bit too easy, take the moment where Lamia is destroyed, and some which you may think predictable, it still does not hinder the amazing essence the film has as a whole. It's such an exciting adventure to follow and the pace continuously moves quickly that there is not a point that we can look away as in doing so we risk missing something intrinsic to the plot. It leaves you with a great feeling of warmth and magic as well as a big silly grin on your face, and as a result I would most definitely recommend it.