*SPOILER ALERT* Shutter Island – The 2nd time around

For those who haven’t seen “Shutter Island” yet (Adapted from the book written by Dennis Lehane. Directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley), I highly recommend the movie! In my opinion, it is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Also, this movie must be watched TWICE.

For those who have seen the movie, you can feel free to continue scrolling down to read my reaction after watching the movie (the 2nd time around), and for those who haven’t seen it, please don’t. It contains a lot of spoilers, and nobody likes spoilers.









So my reaction after watching the movie the first time around was: “I’m not sure if he’s mentally ill or if he really is a US Marshal who’s been set up”. Basically, I was downright confused. I thought that Leonardo DiCaprio was a brilliant actor, and I really did not expect that twist at the end.

However, it wasn’t after I watched it the second time around that I was truly mindblown. Since I know the ending now, I actually started to notice little things that showed that the main character (Teddy) was indeed suffering from a mental illness. When he didn’t know certain details to the case and needed his “partner” (Chuck) to fill him in, whenever the camera kept moving to show Chuck’s face when the doctor’s name was mentioned, and how he kept seeing his dead wife in his dreams and hallucinations. The director was amazing, the actors were believable, and the script was extremely well-written.

What had the biggest impact on me though was the fact that if you stop and think about it, the movie allows you to see through the eyes of a mentally ill person. The first time you watch the movie, you are thinking like they are: You believe in everything that you see, you do not think what you’re seeing is false, and it’s not until the doctors tell Teddy everything that he (and you) start to see the truth. For me, that is the message that really stuck with me. Psychological illnesses are real, and they cause great pain to the sufferer. But it isn’t until you see it through their eyes (and through this clever movie) that you can really empathize.

The quote that stuck with me and one that I’m still trying to figure out, is at the end, right before Teddy goes with the doctors to get a transorbital lobotomy, he says:

“Which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?”

– Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island



I think the above quote means that he understood what was happening, that’s why he went with the doctors willingly. He knew that he was going to be getting a transorbital lobotomy, and in that moment he knew clearly who he was.


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