'Shutter Island', the Complicated Thriller, Fully Explained. (2022)

‘Shutter Island’. Martin Scorsese has directed more than 20 feature films in a career spanning 50 years. He has been the most influential English language filmmaker after the great Stanley Kubrick, with his movies not only setting benchmarks in distinctive aspects but also leading Hollywood on a path it never dared to tread on. Like a potter and cinema his piece, he has added ingredients and sublimely shaped them to create his own universally accepted brand of film making.

With the ferocious Sicilian blood running through him, Scorsese has in the process destroyed the fragile pots that could not stand the test of time, the conventionalities and constraints of mainstream cinema. His work before and after the beginning of the millennium has been highly contrasting, with his subject matter switching to tones that appeal to a wider audience, a more mainstream approach technically. ‘Gangs of New York’ and ‘The Departed’ maybe exceptions, but they have his older themes imbibed in them as a resultant of the primary motives. They never take the center stage and exist only to remind you it’s not a hillbilly ride. Scorsese has lately been shuffling between genres, from ‘Aviator’ (biopic) to ‘Hugo’ (fantasy) or ‘Shutter Island’ (psychological thriller) to ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (dark comedy), he’s lent every feature his remarkable finesse with some pretty detailing.

The plot, in short

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One movie that reserved a tranquil space in my mind is ‘Shutter Island’. ‘Shutter Island’ frankly was the first movie that made me question my thinking and judgement, and consider the medium of films seriously. It was released the same year as ‘Inception’, with Nolan‘s mindbender receiving a mile wider acclaim despite its narrative and structural flaws that irked me a lot on the second watch.

Shutter Island is conventional with its linear narrative. It is set in the 50s and stays true to the film noir style of building a mystery; with a curious lead detective shrouded in his own mystery unveiling simultaneously with the plot, frequent flashbacks that disrupt narrative flow, lingering presence of a femme fatale, supporting characters that are embedded with curiosity rather than solutions, tragic universal event preceding the plot that lends a dark or glum ambience (The WW2 in this case) and the use of minimal lighting to create a sort of chiaroscuro (highly contrasting shades with the background sealed in dark that shifts a lot of focus towards the central character). This is mostly because of Scorsese’s confessed love for traditional noir, and he gives a fitting tribute to a genre that is parodied more than its idolized.

*SPOILER ALERT* Pardon me, because the whole movie is filled with symbolism and it is just human to miss out on some of them. To tell you the truth, the visual imagery’s an achievement here and its meaning would differ with change in perspective.

(Video) SHUTTER ISLAND (2010) Ending Explained + Analysis

The plot, in detail

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Starting with the first scene where we are introduced to Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is suffering from a bout of sea-sickness and complains about water. Notice how we are given no background whatsoever and are straight up brought to this scene, signifying the character’s weakness, a very odd beginning to create a doubt in the viewers’ minds about the robustness of the lead we want to get affiliated with. A few moments later, we and the lead meet Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) whose background and motive is summed up in a couple of sentences, conveying Teddy’s concentration sacrificed for his eagerness to reach the island. The film does a brilliant job in involving you and your eyes are Teddy’s eyes, and this is exactly how Scorsese keeps you distracted from the symbolic hints right in front of you. We reach the island and are taken to the penitentiary through a montage of abruptly cut fast paced shots. There is no delaying to invoke suspense because it wouldn’t mean anything at this stage owing to our lack of knowledge of the events and it abides by our shared eagerness to thrust the shovel into the ground.

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There’s a particular scene where Teddy questions the stiffness of the guards, but has no idea about the presence of a monster in extremely close proximity to him. There’s a very unsettling scene thrown at us with a scrawny balding woman with a cut on her throat gesturing silence followed by a smile that raises a question : Does a mentally unhealthy woman know more than us or is this a gimmick to welcome us into Scorsese’s haven of horror. Fast forward a few scenes, we meet Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley) and he feeds us details about the missing patient, Rachel Solando. He drops bombshells all around us while describing the crimes Rachel had committed, and Teddy is visibly astounded by this. The treatment requires Dr. Cawley to get through Teddy’s subconscious by reminding him of the reality by mentioning keywords in normal sentences. Consequently, there are dreams and hallucinations of Teddy’s wife Dolores Chanal (Michelle Williams) who we are made to believe was killed in a fire initiated by Andrew Laeddis, who’s on the same island. We also see Teddy serving in the war, watching slaughtered bodies all around him but does not indulge in killing, though he does decide a man’s dying moments.

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His acceptance of his past in the war proves he did not suffer from post war trauma and it primarily serves as a foundation for his misplaced guilt and grief, otherwise his subconscious would have fought to keep those out as well. While searching Solando’s room he discovers a note with the words “The Law of 4” and “Who is 67” scribbled on it, that suggests the existence of a 67th patient, i.e, Teddy and the wordplay Teddy’s mind works up to form two entities (Andrew Daniels and Rachel Solando) that displace his guilt.

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(Video) SHUTTER ISLAND (2010) Explained | Movie Recap

The lighthouse is a mysterious structure looming over the island and probably has a similar importance as The Wicker Man, like a totem pole worshipped by Teddy’s instincts. There’s also an inexplicable band-aid on his forehead, foreshadowing the lobotomy process that he will have to face and probably a result of his fight with Noyce. During the interrogation scene, a patient in the absence of Chuck writes the letters “RUN” to convey a message to Teddy, making the lead dubious about his place in the plot. Step forward a few scenes, we find out that Rachel has been found and she gets intimate with Teddy, imitating Dolores in the process.

Teddy suffers from a migraine, which are preceded by flashes of lightning. Flickering lights, panging artificial flashes and lightning is used throughout the movie as a sign of welcome by his hallucinations. He dreams about Laeddis, an archetypal madman with a huge scar across his face and a mere creation of his mind, and Rachel who has a throat wound similar to the old lady that irked him. This is followed by another hallucination of Dolores meeting him in the quarters. The next day, we find out that the storm has destroyed most of the walls and fences, and the two Marshalls head into Ward C (this I believe was improvised by Dr Sheehan on the spot). We meet a half naked inmate who gives a jumpscare and says “Tag! You’re it” before tapping Teddy. The execution is spot on, the light only focuses on the two characters despite no electricity blending everything around them with the darkness and though we expect a fright, it is amplified by this technique.

Later, Teddy is drawn by a voice chanting the name Laeddis towards a cell with the caged George Noyce (Jackie Earle Haley), whose consistent pleading is completely misunderstood by Teddy. The wounds on Noyce’s are later learnt, inflicted by Teddy after Noyce tries to make him face the reality, highlighting Teddy’s violent tendencies. A terrified Noyce talks about lobotomies and experiments, fueling Teddy’s beliefs that Shutter Island conducts human experiments, which is reflective of the opaque mindset of the masses during that period. Noyce questions Chuck’s motives and Teddy’s consciousness, and this scene is very effective in deciding the coming events. This scene involves the use of the traditional reverse shot and modifications with the Kuleshov Effect, with our reactions being a result of Noyce’s expressions.

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Teddy later meets the real Rachel Solando in a cave inside the cliff and she claims to be a psychiatrist who was charged with madness by the facility. Her opinions are very similar to ramblings of a crazy person with emphasis on conspiracies that are factually incorrect. She manages to ruffle Teddy by alerting him about the psychotropic drugs that were being used in the medicines and cigarettes to restrain the patients and also tells him the secret of the lighthouse; it is used to conduct Nazi-esque experiments on patients that would render them thoughtless and they can then be served to promote the Communist ideology, echoing the incessant ignorance. The following day, he searches his missing partner, who he believes was abducted by the officials and will now be tested upon.

During a scene with the warden, who drives him back, the warden unveils the truth out of a considerable sense of repressed hostility, hinting toward the past relationship between him and Teddy and also mentioning the fact that both of them were bound by the constraints of the society. Skipping to the lighthouse, after Teddy is made to believe that he arrived alone on the island, he finds Dr Cawley and a table where he expected the surgical room to be. We get to know that Chuck Aule is Dr Sheehan, Teddy’s primary psychiatrist and Teddy has been on the premises for 24 months, but as a patient who was inducted after he killed his wife. He’s also told that all the events that took place during the course were part of an alternate reality that Teddy a.k.a Andrew Laeddis had constructed to wash his hands off the guilt of the loss of his wife and three children.

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(Video) The Ending Of Shutter Island Finally Explained

Earlier in the room, we see Dolores urging Teddy to get out or it would be the end of him, because of Teddy’s rendezvous with the reality. This is heavily inspired from ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’, a German expressionist film from the 20s, with the lead unaware of his stance in conflicting realities. Though we are shown that Teddy accepts his past and looks strong enough to live with it, moments later he gives himself away to his unresolvable guilt and decides to die a good man than to live as a monster. He’s taken to the lighthouse for the lobotomy, where he hopes all his memories may be completely wiped off and we are left with an ambiguous ending which I believe, for the lack of a better word is irrelevant.

People overthink to find the truth that Teddy couldn’t, i.e, the reality because of the intentionally weak narrative but to tell you the truth that doesn’t matter, and also to note this is the first time when the audiences think for themselves rather than being led by Teddy. You start with Teddy and you end with Teddy, in your search for a conclusion you forget about the primary truth that he had accepted : “No more let life divide what death can join together”. His life either way is stuck in a vicious cycle and the only escape for him is to get rid of the memories and be free. The ambiguity is like sauce over sandwich, wavering the true essence or meaning.

The themes

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Fire and Water play a significant role in the movie with the former drawing Teddy towards the truth he made up and the latter forcing him to accept the real truth, the one he had buried. In the scene where we are first introduced to Dolores, we see her back burning like a lump of coal when she turns around and starts moving away from Teddy, symbolizing the truth getting away from him or turning its back towards him. She then walks back to him, and both blood and water-spout out from her stomach when he holds her, conveying the reality of her being shot and the truth being closest to him at that moment. His memories are fragmented, when we see Rachel drowning her children after killing them and requesting Teddy to help her carry their bodies, with a contradicting shot towards the end where he brings their bodies out from the lake, signifying his underlying guilt for something he had not done.

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There are scenes in the movie where the lead strikes matches to look at things clearly amongst the pitch black background, which is similar to The Little Match Girl with the matches only creating a world of fantasy. There’s a line in the movie where DiCaprio’s character is praised for his impressive defense mechanisms by the great Max Von Sydow, and throughout the movie his mind keeps defending him from water, developing an unlikeness towards it, keeping him at bay from the truth he doesn’t want to confront. Cawley intentionally praises Rachel’s intelligence earlier in the movie, a remark on Teddy’s honed intelligence and strength that makes him a very difficult person to contain, and this is why his subconscious despite his delusional state goes to such remarkable lengths to create an alternative reality. There are instances where the only thing separating two characters is smoke, smoke from a match or a cigarette, smothering the expressions and reality with a hazy veil. Smoke being a derivative of fire, either conveys the effect of Teddy’s version enshrouding him or the volatility of it.

There’s a debatable scene involving a scarred Laedis, and we are shown a close-up of his hands lighting a match which precedes a series of similar shots but with Teddy’s hands lighting the match. This I believe indicates to Teddy seeing himself as the monster, a case of dissociative identity. Another scene involves Teddy blaming Laeddis for the fire that killed 4 people including his wife. Knowing Teddy’s guilt it’s just apt that the other 3 were his children, and him blaming Laeddis for their death is clarified towards the end when considers himself guilty for their death because he hadn’t attended to his wife’s deteriorating mental health.

(Video) Shutter Island — Notice The Details

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Coming to water, more than half of the movie takes place during a storm which makes Teddy incredibly vulnerable to getting in contact with water, like the leaking roof while he’s sleeping or the washing away of the letters “RUN” or obscurity in his vision, things that make it difficult for him to see through the alternative truth. Probably the longest hallucination in the movie takes place in the cave when Teddy meets the “real” Rachel. There’s a small fire lit between them and Rachel is a caricature from Teddy’s mind and echoes the same doubts as him, and is factually incorrect owing to Teddy’s insufficient knowledge about medical study. Teddy himself says “survival instincts become defense mechanisms”, him finding a cave to survive the storm. Before this, he sees Chuck’s corpse on the rocks but it is seemingly washed away by water, wiping away another made up image. He then sees hundreds of rats pouring out of a hole, signifying erupting desire out of paranoia and initiating the Rachel hallucination.

The ending

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There’s an interesting scene towards the end, when Teddy blows up the car. He is persistent on finding the truth and completely disregards Dolores, and uses a memento of her love to torch the car. The car does explode, with brilliant contrast to his own ever-amplifying implosion, and his mind brings his daughter and Dolores in the same frame for the first time, a final effort to stop him from accessing the truth. Quite weirdly, one thing that went unnoticed was the lighthouse. The lighthouse in the beginning and the end are two different structures, and this is why I have mentioned Teddy being taken to a lighthouse for the lobotomy. Though Dr Cawley and Dr Sheehan try their best to help Teddy from the inside, the behavior of the other guards and Dr Naehring doesn’t suggest so and leaves a small room for some atrocities to take place, but then we are made to develop slight hostility when he is known to be a German immigrant.

There are continuity errors in the movie, but they are precisely placed to question the point of view we share with Teddy. The ending left me distraught because of one line Teddy says “You can never take away all a man’s memories. Never.”, this can be argued to be an event of foreshadowing but I believe it means there’s a good chance of Teddy continuing with few memories even after the lobotomy, and it is simply tragic to only have the brain handle the pain inflicted every second.

Final word

Overall, ‘Shutter Island’ is a terrific film and one of the most intelligent films of this decade overloaded with symbolism that justifies Scorsese’s immortal stature. The narrative according to many critics is weak but it is an adaptation and has a moral responsibility to stick to its source material but Roger Ebert rightfully said “You may read reviews of Shutter Island complaining that the ending blindsides you. The uncertainty it causes prevents the film from feeling perfect on first viewing. I have a feeling it might improve on second. Some may believe it doesn’t make sense. Or that, if it does, then the movie leading up to it doesn’t. I asked myself: OK, then, how should it end? What would be more satisfactory? Why can’t I be one of those critics who informs the director what he should have done instead?This movie is all of a piece, even the parts that don’t appear to fit.”

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(Video) The Big Clue Everyone Missed Early In Shutter Island


Was Andrew faking it at the end of Shutter Island? ›

Others, however, take it as meaning that Andrew's only faking his relapse. His unusual treatment's made him aware of the terrible thing he's done: guilt has therefore engulfed him, and he's deliberately getting himself lobotomised to escape it. These two versions of what the film means could hardly be more at odds.

Is Teddy actually Andrew? ›

The Shutter Island Lighthouse

Cawley explains that Teddy is actually Andrew Laeddis, their "most dangerous patient." He was sent to the island after murdering his manic-depressive wife, Dolores. It turns out that Dolores drowned their three children.

Did Teddy get lobotomized? ›

Because the doctors were unable to bring Teddy "back to reality," they have no choice but to lobotomize him. However, what we really see transpire is Teddy choosing to be lobotomized. The doctors' aggressive role play actually worked—just not in the way they had hoped.

Was Andrew actually insane in Shutter Island? ›

We're shown in the Shutter Island ending that insanity took Andrew over, and he shot Dolores dead. Andrew goes completely insane and his mind is unable to face what he's done. He is admitted in Ward C at the psychiatric facility (Ashecliffe) at Shutter Island.

Was Teddy sane at the end of Shutter Island? ›

Only Teddy is not a real person but a delusion created by inmate Andrew Laeddis. The ending of “Shutter Island” reveals that DiCaprio's character is a patient himself, committed to the Shutter Island facility after murdering his wife (Michelle Williams) because she went insane and killed their children.

What do the rats mean in Shutter Island? ›

Before this, he sees Chuck's corpse on the rocks but it is seemingly washed away by water, wiping away another made up image. He then sees hundreds of rats pouring out of a hole, signifying erupting desire out of paranoia and initiating the Rachel hallucination.

Who is the lady in the cave in Shutter Island? ›

Inside the fire-lit cave, Teddy finds a middle-aged woman wielding a knife. He asks her to put down the knife and quickly assumes that she is the "real" Rachel Solando. Rachel explains that she used to work at Ashecliffe as a doctor before being admitted as a patient.

What is the law of 4 in Shutter Island mean? ›

Edit. What does "The Law of 4" from the note found in Rachel's room mean? Dr Cawley (Ben Kingsley) explains that the "Law of 4" refers to the fact that two names are anagrams. They are: (1) Dolores Chanal (Andrew's wife's maiden name) rearranged to Rachel Solando and (2) Andrew Laeddis rearranged to Edward Daniels.

What is the message of Shutter Island? ›

Madness. Madness is central to the plot of Shutter Island, a film that takes place entirely at a mental hospital. The protagonist Teddy Daniels is trapped in a delusion for nearly the entire film, only able to acknowledge the reality of his past for mere moments before regressing back into his delusional world.

Why does the woman write run on Teddy's notepad? ›

Mrs. Kearns writes "run" on the paper she slips to Teddy because she knows he has an opportunity to escape while they're doing the whole role play experiment. It's also why she sounds "coached" about what to tell Teddy - she has been.

What actually happened at the end of Shutter Island? ›

Teddy is Andrew Laeddis, a demented killer and a patient in the mental hospital he's “investigating.” His psychiatrist has encouraged Andrew to act out his delusions. However, this fails, and Andrew returns to his psychotic state. The film ends with him being taken to be lobotomized.

Is Shutter Island a true story? ›

Unfortunately, "Shutter Island" isn't based on a true story, and author Dennis Lehane came up with the mystery of his own accord — however, that doesn't mean there aren't elements of truth thrown in for good measure. It's widely known that Lehane based the titular island of the story on Long Island in Boston Harbor.

Who is George Noyce to Teddy? ›

Jackie Earle Haley's character, George Noyce, is a guy who knew Teddy/Andrew in the asylum. Noyce was a "repeat offender" who ended up back on Shutter Island and fed Andrew conspiracy theories for his fantasy. One day Noyce called "Teddy" by his real name, Laeddis, causing a psychotic outburst where Andrew beat him up.

Why does the glass disappear in Shutter Island? ›

Sheehan. DiCaprio's character is part of a role-playing experiment to help him overcome repressed memories, which is why the glass appears to be invisible. From Teddy's perspective, he blocks out the water because it reminds him of a traumatic experience.

Is Leo insane in Shutter Island? ›

In an episode of unbridled rage, Leonardo's character ends up killing Dolores and losing his mind to become delusional. He is later admitted to the Shutter Island hospital for the criminally insane under the care of Dr Cawley played by Ben Kingsley and Dr Sheehan played by Mark Ruffalo.

Why is it called Shutter Island? ›

It is nothing more than just the name of the island where the story takes place - Shutter Island (in Boston harbour). The island is fictional; Dennis Lehane (the author of the Shutter Island novel, on which the film is based) was inspired by the hospital and grounds on Long Island in Boston Harbor.

What mental illness does Teddy have in Shutter Island? ›

This condition make him always has hallucination and has delusional acute which is identified as the schizophrenia symptoms. created a new identity as Edward Teddy Daniel who as a detective that come to shutter island with the big mission to find the patient number 67.

Why does the woman shush in Shutter Island? ›

The creepy old lady does the shush sign to Teddy because the doctors had told everyone in the hospital about the experiment they are conducting with Teddy, and that they are not supposed to say anything to him about it. The lady is mentally ill and she was telling Teddy to be quiet, in essence not to spoil the secret.

Why does Teddy have a plaster on his head? ›

Whenever Teddy is pretending to be a U.S. Marshal, he had a bandaid on the left part of his forehead. Almost as if a wound. Teddy has a band aid on his head to represent him having amnesia and constant headaches. In one scene a doctor of the institute calms Teddy down and tells him that he truly is wounded.

Why did Leo have a bandaid on his head in Shutter Island? ›

In Shutter Island, Leo's character has a band-aid on his forehead throughout his investigation. He only takes it off when the truth is revealed. The Band aid symbolises his 'sickness" and taking it off symbolises the fact that he's cured.

What does the last line in Shutter Island mean? ›

To live as a monster or to die as a good man?" Teddy deceived chuck by pretending he is still living in his fantasy world resulting a go signal to the doctor to proceed their lobotomy operation unto him which is I think what he expected and decided to go through. That is why he says the last dialogue.

Is there going to be a Shutter Island 2? ›

The Ending Of Shutter Island Finally Explained - YouTube

A detailed plot analysis and the ending of Shutter Island explained… what was in the lighthouse? what does live as a monster mean in the end?

Andrew has become delusional and believes himself to be Edward, who is at Shutter Island to expose experiments conducted on the patients.. According to Edward, this Andrew was taken to Shutter Island and there was no word of him after.. Chuck asks Edward who Andrew Laeddis was and why he was asking about him.. Edward then tells Chuck that he took on this Shutter Island case specifically because he is after Andrew, the maintenance guy who set fire to his apartment.. Edward and Chuck decide to sneak into Ward C. One of the patients talks to Edward.. Edward now believes completely that Dr. Cawley has set traps to declare Edward crazy .. The ending of shutter island reveals that Edward Daniels is indeed Andrew Laeddis, the 67th patient at Achecliffe who has been under treatment there for two years.. Dr. Cawley explains that Dolores Chanal and Rachel Solando are anagrams, and similarly Edward Daniels and Andrew Laeddis.

A detailed plot analysis and the ending of Shutter Island explained… what was in the lighthouse? what does live as a monster mean in the end?

Andrew has become delusional and believes himself to be Edward, who is at Shutter Island to expose experiments conducted on the patients.. The film sees Edward being taken through this role-play and his conspiracies are fueled.. The Shutter Island ending sees Dr. Cawley explain that over the course of the treatment, there was a moment when Andrew came back to his senses, but he regressed after that.. This is where the Shutter Island movie begins, just after the role-play has started.. Edward and Chuck meet with Dr. Cawley who is also part of the role-play.. Chuck asks Edward who Andrew Laeddis was and why he was asking about him.. Edward says Rachel was talking about a 67th patient on Shutter Island.. They go to meet Rachel whose role is being played by one of the staffs.. After his conversation with Noyce, Edward believes that Chuck is part of the conspiracy too.. Dr. Cawley asks “We?”.. Dr. Cawley says that Dr. Solando isn’t real, and that the shaky hands are because of withdrawal from not having Chlorpromazine, a drug that Andrew/Edward has been on for two years at Ashecliffe.. The Shutter Island ending sees Dr. Sheehan approach Andrew and talk to him as Chuck.

This article reveals the plot and the detailed explanation of Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island explaining its meaning and storyline. ItContinue reading

Martin Scorsese makes you realize straight away that the movie is more than just a psychological thriller/noir set in the ’50s, that it’s not just an island with a mental hospital and that you are about to witness more than just an investigation.. From that moment on Laeddis suffers a devastating collapse that leads him to create a new fictional identity as Edward Daniels (anagram of Andrew Laeddis), a widower and childless special agent whose wife has died in a house fire caused by a pyromaniac actually named Andrew Laeddis.. The missing woman and war widow Rachel Solando – an anagram of Dolores Chanal, the maiden name of Laeddis’s wife – would have been hospitalized after having brutally murdered her children and having completely dissociated herself from the fact, and there is no doubt this is another of Laeddis’ mental projections capable of erasing the memory of his wife’s actions.. A movie that anyone who claims to love cinema should watch several times: the first to be fooled, the second to realize that it makes sense, and the others to enjoy a cinema experience making us capable of feeling good and bad at the same time.. View all posts by Luca Maffei

The debate surrounding Shutter Island's ending still rages today, but we've compiled all the evidence to put the pieces together.

Rather, what we see play out throughout the film is indeed an elaborate role-play in which the doctors at Shutter Island aggressively attempt to implant a specific memory into Teddy's mind—namely, that he is actually a man by the name of Andrew Laeddis who compassionately murdered his psychotic wife after she drowned their three children.. So, if Teddy isn't really a U.S.. The most telling piece of evidence comes when Teddy dreams of "Andrew Laeddis," the firebug supposedly responsible for burning down his apartment complex.. Teddy probably turned into the pyromaniac responsible for killing his wife as a result of traumatic experiences that took place during his service in World War II.. "They're experimenting on people here," Teddy tells "Chuck," his fake partner who is actually one Dr. Sheehan, and thus knows the truth of it.. Although Teddy has created a false reality for himself—in which he is a "good guy" looking to track down his wife's killer and expose the truth about the U.S. government's mind control experiments taking place at Shutter Island—there's no reason to assume the doctors are presenting him the truth.. The false memory in question, of course, is the film's pivotal lake house scene.. Marshal) to find that his mentally-ill wife has drowned their three children in an attempt at turning them into "living dolls.". During what serves as the film's "big reveal" in the lighthouse, Teddy is confronted—as we know—by Dr. Cawley and Dr. Sheehan, who explain that Edward Daniels is, in fact, one "Andrew Laeddis" who's responsible for the murder of his wife.. Marshal Edward Daniels, knowing full well that he will be lobotomized.. No problem— Shutter Island is an almost infinitely confusing film.

Martin Scorsese's psychological thriller Shutter Island traps Leonardo DiCaprio in a maze of questions that are ultimately answered by the movie's twist ending.

All along the way, "Shutter Island" drops hints that something is not right with this picture.. It gives you these clues, like the disappearing water glass, which is there in the woman's hand in one frame, but gone the next.. When Teddy finally makes it to the lighthouse in the third act, Dr. Cawley is there waiting for him.. It confronts Teddy with self-knowledge.. Chuck shows up, back from the dead, and it turns out he is really the MIA Dr. Sheehan, Teddy's primary psychiatrist.. The truth is, Teddy/Andrew killed his wife, Dolores (Michelle Williams), after she had a psychotic break and drowned their three children.. Andrew Laeddis couldn't live with the guilt of what he had done (and what he hadn't done), so his mind retreated into what his patient chart calls "highly developed and fantastical narratives."

Essays.io ✍️ Mental Illness: Shutter Island, Movie Review Example from students accepted to Harvard, Stanford, and other elite schools

Set in the 1950s, the movie recounts an ostensible investigation being conducted by two United States Marshals, Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule.. As the film proceeds, Daniels reveals to his partner that he is, in fact, there to achieve another goal, that of locating Andrew Laeddis, the arsonist responsible for the death of his wife and children several years earlier, and whom he has reason to believe is being held at Asheville.. She informs him that she is a doctor herself, and has had to escape because of the radical drug experimentation being performed at Asheville, and which she is certain has already been applied to Daniels.. As is evident, nothing further can be uncovered regarding such a contrived character, as the film itself also adds dramatic components not necessarily in keeping with any true illness.. It seems far more likely that Daniels is suffering from delusional disorder.. Delusional disorder frequently requires elements of persecution and paranoia, and these can be no better manufactured than in the form of supposed caregivers who are, in fact, plotting against him in this fictive construct (Sadock, Sadock, 2008, p. 183).. Not unexpectedly, this condition is often difficult to distinguish from paranoid and/or schizoid personality disorder (Cohen, 2003, p. 244).. Ultimately, then, it appears that Daniels suffers from a variation of delusional disorder, and this can be established by the other, most striking fact of his case: the durations of his delusions.. Moreover, such sufferers rarely manifest behaviors ordinarily associated with psychotic disorders; there is no dysphoria, erratic behavior, or deficits in functioning (Weiner, Craighead, 2010, p. 469).. Given the complexity inherent within cases of high functioning delusional disorder, even of the brief psychotic type, it would seem that drug treatment would be unavailing.. For one thing, anti-psychotic drugs do not generally work well with patients suffering from delusions; the pathways within the disorder, particularly in high-functioning individuals, do not follow the disruptive patterns of a typical psychotic disorder (Lieberman, Tasman, 2006, p. 20).. That is to say, the delusions of a high-functioning person like the hero of Shutter Island are, in a sense, non-delusional, because they have the form and structure of actual reality.. Taking the film, Shutter Island , at face value, what enables it to succeed as an engrossing movie is also very much what hampers it as any realistic presentation on the treatment of mental disease.. Mental Illness: Media Presentation vs. Actual Care. Nonetheless, the reality remains that a subject as complex, and as still greatly misunderstood, as mental illness does not easily lend itself to acceptably realistic media presentation.

Let's get this out of the way. Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) really is Andrew Laeddis. He has been a psych patient at Ashecliffe for the past 24 months. He is in extreme and aggressive denial…

Teddy or Andrew.. Teddy and Chuck sneak off to Ward C and encounter a dangerous patient on the loose.. Teddy : What?. It’s for one reason and one reason only that we see Rachel waking Teddy up: to make us believe she’s real.. You can pick up a lot of little things that confirm Teddy’s a patient and everyone is in on Cawley’s performance.. Like in the opening arrival to the island, Teddy notes the guards seem on edge, to which the Deputy Warden (John Carroll Lynch) replies: “We all are.” That’s because Teddy’s a violent patient who is on the loose, so to speak.. It’s why none of the guards are actually searching for Rachel when we see them “searching.” It’s why the one patient waves at Teddy when Teddy first steps on the grounds: they know each other.. And it seems Andrew is at least somewhat aware of what he says and does as Teddy.. And again, Teddy was down bad when he saw Rachel.. And because Andrew is alone and we’re isolated in his perspective, it’s easy to say Rachel’s presented more believably to the viewer because Teddy has no one to challenge his perception.. Given that the movie is based on a dichotomy between Teddy and Andrew, the water/fire dynamic should be read as a purposeful contrast that’s part of the core tension between Teddy and Andrew.. Especially given the fact Teddy was just trying to find Chuck’s body, on the rocks, at the edge of the water.. Andrew reverts to Teddy.. The lighthouse comes to represent not just the lobotomy but Teddy after the lobotomy.

Confused about the ending of <i>Shutter Island</i>? Here's an explanation of what really happened in the film.

Does our Shutter Island explanation match your theory?. All the conspiracy theories about Shutter Island being some secret government facility - or the doctors "getting to" Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) by the end of the film - are simply off the mark.. DiCaprio's character is actually Andrew Laeddis (a.k.a.. Teddy wakes up to the reality that he is actually Andrew Laeddis, though he is warned by Dr. Cawley and Dr. Sheehan that he has regressed into his fantasy world before.. That's what the line to Dr. Sheehan about 'living as a monster, or dying as a good man,' means - Andrew would rather be mind-wiped as "Teddy Daniels" than live with the sins of Andrew Laeddis.. Cawley and Sheehan take Andrew off his meds for the role play experiment, in order to help him break through to reality.. If you watch closely, every time Teddy is around fire - the matches he lights in Ward C, the fire in the cave with "Dr. Solando" and when he blows up Dr. Cawley's car near the end - he suffers some sort of hallucination.. Yeah, she isn't real - and therefore her whole spiel about Shutter Island being a secret government mind control lab isn't real either.. - Sheehan wants Andrew to play out his fantasy until he can see how impossible it is.. Noyce was a "repeat offender" who ended up back on Shutter Island and fed Andrew conspiracy theories for his fantasy.. That assault is what caused Dr. Naehring and the Warden to push for Laeddis to be lobotomized, causing Dr. Cawley and Dr. Sheehan to create the role play game as a last-ditch effort to cure Laeddis.. Vic Holtreman. (2186 Articles Published) Vic Holtreman founded the popular movie news site ScreenRant.com back in 2003 - and, with the help of a talented editorial team, turned Screen Rant into one of the most-respected websites covering the film industry.

Shutter Island (Film) study guide contains a biography of director Martin Scorsese, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

Teddy kicks the door open to find Cawley sitting calmly behind his desk, asking why Teddy is wet.. Cawley asks Teddy how his aches and tremors have been, and Teddy defensively repeats to Cawley what the "real" Rachel Solando told him about the facility's use of illicit neuroleptic drugs.. Cawley and Sheehan finally force Teddy to confess that he killed his wife because she murdered their children, and that he created Teddy Daniels and Rachel Solando as delusions to escape from his own trauma and guilt.. When Teddy starts calling Sheehan "Chuck" again and hints at a conspiracy at Ashecliffe, Sheehan looks sadly over and Cawley and Naehring and shakes his head, signaling that Teddy has regressed.. Although Teddy (and perhaps the audience) expects to find evidence in the lighthouse that will incriminate Ashecliffe in a grotesque conspiracy, instead Teddy merely finds Cawley sitting calmly behind his desk.

This psychology paper discusses Shutter Island Analysis and highlights main character Leonardo Dicaprio in the light of psychoanalysis essay explanation

Leonardo Dicaprio of Shutter Island Shutter Island is an American Psychological Film that expresses a lot of disorder and dissociative identities disorders, especially from the main character of the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio.. In the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio begins as a marshal of the United States of America, where he investigates a psychiatric facility of Shutter Island primarily due to the disappearance of the one patient Rachel Solando.. However, there are also signs that can easily be observed from an individual suffering from the condition, among the signs include, disagreeing personalities of an individual, each person with its memory social relations and behavioral character.. The movie, Shutter Island also possesses a lot of delusional disorder, especially from the main character Leonardo.. A further indication of delusion disorder as shown by Leonardo is the fact that despite the fact that the doctor told him that the lighthouse had been searched and wards C is a secured place.. In the case of Leonardo’s case, the belief that his wife was killed in a fire set by a local arsonist is one of such instances on t of the bizarre delusion disorder.. In the case of Leonardo, known as Daniel in the movie, he suffers from persecutory delusion disorder, where he fails to believe what the doctor told him about Rachel, ward C, and the lighthouse.. These people with delusional disorder always function very well in their day to day life only that in the cares of manic cases where hallucination happens may result in the abnormal practices of an individual.. Therefore, delusional disorder is what pushes Leonardo to investigate everything on the island.. In the case of Leonardo, the fever and the constant dream of his wife, especially after her death made him suffer from a long time of trauma, resulting in a post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sometimes a movie leaves you feeling utterly puzzled and, frankly, a bit lost. From "American Psychio" to "Donnie Darko," here are some in-depth explanations to confusing endings.

Audiences have argued whether Cobb was still dreaming or not by the end of the film.. "And [Nolan] said, 'Well, when you're in the scene, it’s reality.'. So get that — if I'm in it, it’s reality.. Because Caine’s character is featured in the final scene, we can say definitively that Cobb is awake and happily reunited with his children.. Some viewers had questions.. Just as Old Joe attempts to kill Sarah, Joe shoots himself, effectively committing suicide while also killing his future self.. Bateman clearly has psychotic thoughts, but is he really a murderer?. Many viewers have different theories as to whether he never killed or only killed a few, but writer and director Mary Harron told Charlie Rose in an interview that most of the scenes are actually suppose to have transpired.. Like "American Psycho" and "Taxi Driver," the audience is given an unreliable narrator and can never be sure what is real and what’s not.. Upon his doctor’s revelation, it seems as though Laeddis has accepted reality, but the next day he acts as though he’s Teddy again.. Fox / Life of Pi. Based on the novel by Yann Martel "Life of Pi" (2012) follows young Pi as he survives a shipwreck from a cargo ship that was transporting his family and their zoo animals across the ocean.. The animals quickly kill each other, and Pi is left with Richard Parker as he trains him to co-exist with him on the boat.. He decides to tell an alternate version of his story.. Pi, as the protagonist, offers these two stories to the audience and leaves it to our interpretation.. At the end of the movie Deckard finds an origami unicorn in his apartment, left there by one of the replicants.

"Shutter Island" starts working on us with the first musical notes under the Paramount logo's mountain, even before the film starts. They're ominous and doomy. So is the film. This is Martin Scorsese's evocation of the delicious shuddering fear we feel when horror movies are about something and don't release all the tension with action scenes.

"Shutter Island" starts working on us with the first musical notes under the Paramount logo's mountain, even before the film starts.. This is Martin Scorsese's evocation of the delicious shuddering fear we feel when horror movies are about something and don't release all the tension with action scenes.. Shutter Island, we're told, is a remote and craggy island off Boston, where a Civil War-era fort has been adapted as a prison for the criminally insane.. We approach it by boat through lowering skies, and the feeling is something like the approach to King Kong's island: Looming in gloom from the sea, it fills the visitor with dread.. To this island travel U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels ( Leonardo DiCaprio ) and his partner Chuck Aule ( Mark Ruffalo ).. Not after the visitors are shown into the office of the prison medical director, Dr. Cawley, played by Ben Kingsley with that forbidding charm he has mastered.. Scorsese, working from a novel by Dennis Lehane , seems to be telling a simple enough story here; the woman is missing, and Teddy and Chuck will look for her.. But the cold, gray walls clamp in on them, and the offices of Cawley and his colleagues, furnished for the Civil War commanding officers, seem borrowed from a tale by Edgar Allan Poe.. Another film Scorsese showed his cast was Hitchcock's " Vertigo ," and we sense echoes of its hero's fear of heights.. And that's what the movie is about: atmosphere, ominous portents, the erosion of Teddy's confidence and even his identity.. Or that, if it does, then the movie leading up to it doesn't.. Roger Ebert Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013.

The history of psychology is dissected and distorted in Shutter Island.

"Shutter Island" is one of those films that rips the rug out from under you with the frequency and intensity of a magician.. Although issues like delusions and 20th-century inpatient treatment are aggressively examined within the plot, many of its exclamation points are in fact question marks that warrant further discussion.. According to the DSM-IV you can be high functioning — cognitively, socially and emotionally — and not only suffer from delusions (fixed, adamant beliefs that run contrary to clear, consensual evidence) but experience such a state without clear mental hiccups.. Suffice it to say that "Shutter Island" is not the most encouraging cinematic portrayal of mental health.. Two main points that need to be addressed are the cave scene and the final scene.. Of course, this scene is a major melodramatic leap from reality.. Do places like Shutter Island really exist?. The movie also discusses the "ice pick" frontal lobotomy.. But critics of the general narrative structure should step back and realize that the narrative arc is perhaps the most accurate and admirable aspect, psychologically speaking.. On the one hand, indictments of the mental health field in this movie range from unfortunate accuracies to melodramatic exaggerations to head-scratching distortions.. As far as this film's portrayal of clinical psychology is concerned, please email with your verdicts.

Shutter Island may be packed with too many flashbacks and plot twists, but critics say that director Martin Scorsese succeeds in crafting a ghastly, psychologically disturbing world and elevating the pulpy, B-movie thriller of the '50s to high art.

Some may believe it doesn't make sense.. Or that, if it does, then the movie leading up to it doesn't.. But not with Shutter Island .. He isn't asking to be taken seriously here.. There is always a sense that Teddy's running out of time, and for a while we don't know exactly why.

Ironically, in an era of spoilers, Shutter Island is a film focused on a character who prefers not knowing.

At the same time, ever since the success of filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense — and his less-successful attempts to replicate that thriller’s surprise twist in subsequent movies — there’s been an increasing desire by viewers to see if they can guess a film’s big surprise.. This phenomenon partly explains why Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island has rarely gotten a fair assessment.. As the final revelations approach, the stakes diminish precipitously, and the sense that the whole movie has been a strained and pointless contrivance starts to take hold.” Friends who disliked Shutter Island seemed to coalesce around a similar unhappiness, dismissing the movie by saying “I could totally see the twist coming.” In essence, they were assuming a failure on Scorsese’s part as a storyteller: If he was trying to surprise us, well, he sure did a bad job of it.. In case you haven’t seen Shutter Island , let’s reveal our Spoiler Alert now: Teddy Daniels, the marshal played by DiCaprio, has actually been a resident of this institute, known as Shutter Island, for the last two years, the grief he felt over his schizophrenic wife (Michelle Williams) drowning their three young children — and him then killing her in anguish — driving him to create the false “Teddy Daniels” personality.. The disappointment that some felt about Shutter Island derived from their perception that Scorsese clumsily hid his tracks, creating a film of such feverish paranoia — Is the institute doing government experiments on the patients?. In what is, admittedly, a pretty farfetched form of extreme therapy, the institute’s kindhearted head psychiatrist (Ben Kingsley) has devised what we see in Shutter Island as an elaborate version of play-acting, allowing Teddy to reclaim his former mantle as a U.S. marshal to run wild on the island trying to solve the disappearance of a missing female patient, a fiction Teddy created so as not to come to terms with his own sorrow.. (In Teddy’s mind, this nonexistent patient, who supposedly murdered her kids, is a stand-in for his own wife, while another patient, an arsonist whom Teddy accuses of killing his wife, represents Teddy himself, who can’t accept that he took his wife’s life during a moment of extreme distress.). On the face of it, that explanation of what’s going on in Shutter Island is ridiculous, which is why Scorsese places the movie in a heightened reality in which there are often powerful thunderstorms, vivid flashbacks, lurid dream sequences and jarring, mismatched cuts within scenes.. Just about every four months, someone on the Internet will advance a sorta-interesting/mostly-dubious alternative theory suggesting that a particular movie makes more sense if you imagine the plot as being a dream or existing within the main character’s mind, but with Shutter Island that’s actually what’s happening: Teddy’s investigation is really a figment of his warped mental state, and the intensified color, sound and anxiety swirling around him is a product of his psychosis.. With no “surprise” to distract you, it becomes easier to focus on the machinations Teddy goes through to solve the case — a case, it’s important to remember, doesn’t exist — and the lengths the institute’s staff will go to hopefully bring Teddy back to reality.. The movie itself serves as a warning about the distractions we all create to avoid taking a hard look at ourselves, but Scorsese has constructed it so hypnotically that I get sucked into the film’s spell each time, perhaps never fully absorbing the film’s grim lesson.. I fear I rewatch Shutter Island because part of me hopes that maybe Teddy will do something different this time.. Advertised as a horror-thriller, Shutter Island is actually incredibly moving, both because of the decision Teddy ultimately chooses and because of the many men and women who are fighting to keep him from making it.. Ironically, in an era of spoilers, Shutter Island is a film focused on a character who prefers not knowing.

Shutter Island and Insomnia. Movies such as &#8220;Shutter Island&#8221; and &#8220;Insomnia&#8221; both display attributes of neo-noir and classical noir films which contain a great deal of tension a

Movies such as “Shutter Island” and “Insomnia” both display attributes of neo-noir and classical noir films which contain a great deal of tension and suspense.. The “Shutter Island” and “Insomnia” films possess distinct similarities and disparate elements in the characterizations, social issues and cinematic effects.. The detective in “Shutter Island” is Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), a federal marshal who travels to the island with his partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), to investigate the escape of patient in the mental institution.. Cinematic effects such as camera shots, lighting and sound design are utilized in both films to convey the pure emotions of the characters in the films.. Similar to the “Insomnia” film’s camera shots, “Shutter Island” also uses the zoom-in camera effect to display the emotions and thoughts of Teddy.. The “Shutter Island” and “Insomnia” films display similarities and differences in the characterizations, social issues and cinematic effects.. Cinematography was successfully utilized in each film with camera shots, lighting and sound design to display the pure emotions of the characters in the films.

If you loved Shutter Island and want more conspiracies, twists, and turns, here are a few films that will scratch your psychological thriller itch.

It's a suspenseful deep dive into an external mystery and one man's troubled psychology, making it a perfect companion piece to Shutter Island .. In fact, you could say that Black Swan is like Shutter Island turned inside out, with all the surprises in Shutter Island being up-front text in Black Swan — which saves its own peculiar twists for later.. David Lynch's surreal film defies most straightforward interpretations, but as its characters find themselves seemingly trapped in a Hollywood conspiracy and are forced to question reality and even their own identities, it's a direct parallel to Shutter Island .. Film critic William Arnold with The Seattle Post-Intelligencer called the film "a whole new kind of cinematic experience," adding, "Amazingly, 29-year-old writer-director Nolan ... not only makes Memento work as a non-linear puzzle film, but as a tense, atmospheric thriller and a first-rate vehicle for Pearce.". The Machinist is one of the best films ever made about trying and failing to live with guilt — to live, as Shutter Island says, "as a monster.". After all, one of the best reasons to rewatch Shutter Island is the fun of putting together how the world of the story is constructed for the benefit of DiCaprio's Teddy.


1. Shutter Island: Why Perspective is Everything
2. The Mysteries of Ashecliffe Hospital - Shutter Island Recapped
(The Film Recap Project)
3. Shutter Island: Where are the kids? (HD CLIP)
(Binge Society )
4. Shutter Island: The truth (HD CLIP)
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5. Shutter Island Explained | Classic Explained Episode 17
(Lucas Blue)
6. shutter island explained in hindi/ shutter island ending explained/ 2010 movie

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