In 2010, filmmaker Martin Scorsese reunited with comedian Leonardo DiCaprio for the fourth time. The two artists reunite for the excellent “Shutter Island”. Have you noticed all the clues left by the director to guess the outcome of the film?
Shutter Island: a new success for Martin Scorsese
After Gangs of New York after Airman and Infiltrators, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio reunite for the fourth time with Shutter Island. Released in 2010, the feature film tells the investigation of two police officers, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) in a psychiatric hospital on the island of Shutter Island. Also worn by Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, and Max von Sydow, Shutter Island meets with success with more than $294 million in box office receipts (for a budget of 80 million).
Some hints about the ending
The remainder of this article will contain serious spoilers regarding the end of the film. We recommend it to those who have not seen Shutter Island go their way. You are still here? At the end of the feature film, viewers learn that Teddy Daniels is actually a patient at the psychiatric hospital. Interned for the murder of his wife, he is perhaps the most dangerous patient in the entire institution. To try to help her, Chuck Aule, his doctor, decides to stage this huge life-size police investigation. And the film leaves many clues about this deception during its story. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the various clues left by Martin Scorsese to guess the end of Shutter Island.
The first clue, at the beginning of the film, the two protagonists are forced to surrender their weapons when they arrive on the island. Chuck Aule has difficulty taking out his revolver to hand it to the police. A far from insignificant detail since it is the first proof confirming that Chuck is not a marshal but a doctor. Indeed, the latter is not used to handling a weapon.
Later in the film, when Teddy goes after Peter Breene (Christopher Denham), Chuck Aule brings Teddy back to his seat with his left hand, while with the right he signals to the staff of the establishment to bring Peter back to his service. At another point, when they interrogate Bridget (Robin Bartlett), the latter throws furtive glances at Chuck Aule. Finally, in most interviews, police officers stand behind Teddy Daniels, but not behind Chuck Aule.
But the most direct reference is certainly to the encounter between Teddy and George Noyce (Jackie Earle Haley), a prisoner in Building C. The latter said to the false marshal the following sentences: “You are not investigating anything”, “you have to let your wife go”. At first viewing, these sentences seem anecdotal and are mostly misunderstood. But at the end of the film, they take on a whole new meaning.
Clues are also in the staging
To mark the madness of Teddy Daniels, Martin Scorsese opted for a somewhat special achievement. The filmmaker has indeed voluntarily left some continuity errors to express the madness and imbalance of his character. For example, the drink of one of the patients disappears from one shot to another; Teddy has a constant aversion to water over the course of the film as it reminds him of his children drowning, etc.
But the best reference is probably to Teddy’s matches. At the start of the film, the character refuses to strike matches to light his cigarettes. Probably because they associate them with arson. However, later in the film, as the treatment takes effect, Teddy finally uses his matches. Finally, for most of the story, it’s cloudy and the rain gets heavier as the story deepens. The sun only appears in the final scenes. This is a reference to Freud, who described the subconscious as confusing cloudy weather, as opposed to the clear skies of consciousness.
The last clever staging element proposed by Martin Scorsese: is the bandage. Leonardo DiCaprio wears a bandage for almost the entire film. A bit like the spinning top in Inception it is a totem to differentiate fact from fiction. The absence of this bandage on the face of the character symbolizes his healing. When he’s not wearing his bandage, that’s when he realizes the truth.
Here are some clues. We have surely forgotten a lot of them and we let you propose the easter eggs that we would not have mentioned.