“Shutter Island” pulled in an impressive $40.2 million over the weekend, easily topping the box-office charts and giving Martin Scorsese his biggest opening yet.
This is good, I guess. One wants to see one’s favourite filmmakers do well, even if their latest offering
s isn’t exactly good.
Quite a few of my colleagues are struggling with the same issue — with “Shutter Island”, Scorsese has delivered what’s basically a gorgeously made, utterly inconsequential genre picture — a film with even less weight than “The Color of Money”, the movie we tend to bring up when discussing the director’s work for hire.
The better comparison, of course is “Cape Fear” — an overwrought piffle that started out as a tribute to the movies Scorsese loved as a youngster, and metastasized into a ludicrous, overdirected mess.
In his interesting Slate essay, Elbert Ventura argues that Scorsese has spent the last decade or so sliding from his pedestal, and the American critical community is largely too polite to call him on it. (I’d say the slide began earlier, when he started his run of Oscar-baiting prestige pictures in the 1990s, but then I’ve never had much patience for “The Age of Innocence”.)
Check ’em out. And if you’ve seen “Shutter Island”, what did you think? Intriguing exercise in genre reclamation, or empty affectation? Or were you just in it for the atmosphere?