Almost a year ago, when I first saw the trailers for the movie, I wasn't too thrilled.
I'm a firm believer that movie trailers can be way too revealing. I'm not saying that all movie trailers are bad. I've watched the Inception trailer a couple times now and I still have no idea what that film is about. I remember the original Matrix trailers. I don't recall showing any part of the 'real world' in the various spots.
The Shutter Island trailer choreographed the whole film. Scenes from the trailer were cut from various parts of the movie, including some near the end. This is what you understand from the trailer:
1) Main character, a federal marshal, arrives at Shutter Island, a prison for the criminally insane.
2) Originally sent to investigate a missing inmate, he soon finds out that there's a huge conspiracy around.
3) Trailer shows him speaking with the missing woman, who informs him that there's a huge conspiracy and everyone's in on it! (the orderlys, doctors, guards, everyone!) They're doing nasty experiments and he's the latest victim.
4) He's trying to get out before they make him insane through psychobabble drugs which are in the good, medicine, cigarettes that he's been using.
Now, I don't think its a spoiler in stating that there's a twist to this movie. The real twist (here it comes) is that it is so blatantly obvious. The main character has always been a patient at the hospital. He's a federal marshal who was so grief stricken with the death of his wife and kids that he fabricated the whole story of going to Shutter Island to investigate the guy to blame for their deaths... and that's himself! Brilliant stuff, right?
I'm not a doctor, and I don't claim to know anything, but I wish that I could have delusions as great as the main character's. To be able to fabricate a story like that and then delude himself into believing it. Wow.
Anyway, movies aren't just about plot. The acting in the film was great. I thought the pacing had some problems. The action and drama slows down dramatically the moment that the twist is revealed. It felt a little too pretentious to me with the whole name-anagram idea. Really, an insane man is going to create his alternate persona with the same anagram as his real name? Yeah, right. I was waiting for the other twist to drop, that somehow he was correct and that Shutter Island was a brain-washing camp. Nope. The movie ends with Leo still being crazy.
Also, I thought the music score in the film was strange and out of place. There were several points in the movie where there's an increasingly loud blast of low tone (like a ship's horn or something) such as when Leo first enters the prison facility. I'm not sure what that was about, but I didn't like it.