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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Shutter Island [Blu-ray]


(Martin Scorsese, 2010)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount Pictures

Video: Paramount Home Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:18:04.776

Disc Size: 44,568,635,960 bytes

Feature Size: 37,700,308,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.62 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 8th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4725 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4725 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 640 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB



English, English (SDH), French, Portuguese, Spanish, none



• Featurette: Behind the Shutters (17:11 in HD!)
Featurette: Into the Lighthouse (21:11 in HD!)





Description: Martin Scorsese puts Leonardo DiCaprio through the wringer again in Shutter Island, a gothic adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel. Leo's character, a Federal Marshal named Teddy Daniels, is first seen vomiting and jittery aboard a ferry; he and his new partner (Mark Ruffalo) are being taken across the water to investigate an escape from a prison for the criminally insane, located on a forbidding rock called Shutter Island. From the first, Scorsese treats the place as though it were Skull Island in King Kong, worthy of ominous music cues and portentous camera angles. This might not be an easy assignment for the sweaty, anxious Daniels, who is haunted by his memories of German concentration camps and the loss of his wife (Michelle Williams, appearing in ghostly hallucinations).

Excerpt from located HERE

It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.



The Film:

Expert, screw-turning narrative filmmaking put at the service of old-dark-madhouse claptrap, "Shutter Island" arguably occupies a similar place in Martin Scorsese's filmography as "The Shining" does in Stanley Kubrick's. In his first dramatic feature since "The Departed," Scorsese applies his protean skill and unsurpassed knowledge of Hollywood genres to create a dark, intense thriller involving insanity, ghastly memories, mind-alteration and violence, all wrapped in a story about the search for a missing patient at an island asylum. A topnotch cast headed by Leonardo DiCaprio looks to lead this Paramount release, postponed from its original opening date last fall to Feb. 19, to muscular returns in all markets.

As Kubrick did with Stephen King's novel, Scorsese uncustomarily ventures here into bestseller territory that obliges him to deliver certain expected ingredients for the mass audience and adhere to formula more than has been his nature over the years. Although "The Departed" and "Cape Fear" come close, "Shutter Island" is the film that most forces the director to walk the straight and narrow in terms of carefully and clearly telling a story; if testing himself within that discipline was his intention, this most devoted of cinema students among major American directors gets an "A."

He also chose his material well. Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel is quite a few notches above the norm for mass-market popular fiction; ingeniously structured and populated with a rogue's gallery of intriguing, deceptive characters, the book is a real page-turner, spiked with game-changing twists, which draws upon perfectly legitimate medical, legal, historical and political issues.

Excerpt from Todd McCarthy of Variety located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Shutter Island appears visually pristine on Blu-ray from Paramount. There is a fine sheen of grain and colors, especially pastels, seems to come through very well - all this though is more the art direction, costumes etc. The Blu-ray just seems to be replicating it with pinpoint perfection. This is dual-layered with a fairly high bitrate and contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. The style never overtakes the scenario and this Blu-ray has nothing worthy of making issue. There are zero artifacts, depth is occasionally apparent, detail strong and I see no sign of digital manipulations. I was duly impressed with the video presentation of Shutter Island. It appears to look as good as it can in 1080P.















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at, a powerhouse, 4725 kbps is as perfect (or more?) than the video transfer. There really is no way to critique it as it appears to be replicating the filmmakers intent with zeal. The film doesn't have a lot of aggressive moments but whenever a bass punch, range, depth or sweeping high end for the score is required - the track handles it with relative ease. Audio is a good part of this presentation and the lossless track can't be criticized. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras :

Unfortunately no commentary but this may be a film that stands better by itself than an endless discussion of themes and narrative assessment. There are two featurettes: Behind the Shutters and Into the Lighthouse running almost 40-minutes in total. These lean to production pieces with the principals giving soundbytes. No bad stuff actually. I'll admit I really would have enjoyed a commentary and there are no BD-LIVE bells and whistles that I could ascertain. So, surprisingly skimpy for such a high profile film.



I am little baffled by the critical indifference to Shutter Island. I believe I watched a totally masterful and visionary piece of filmmaking. I can only assume that some viewers didn't embrace the topic (there are harsh moments, on multiple fronts, for those more sensitive) but I was never under any constraints to complain about the length and DiCaprio, Ruffalo, Kingsley - were all magnificent, the atmospheric cinematography, the abundant style, the indefinable 'Scorsese' touches - add up to a mesmerizing presentation.  In my second viewing I identified many more of the incongruous segments as being totally intentional - veering us to, and supporting, the riveting climax. I'm tired of the 'Noir' talk with Shutter Island - there isn't that much here to help define it as classically related to the black cinema style simply because of the time frame it is set. The Blu-ray A/V is flawless (a tiresome word, I know, in reviewing HD) - extras were more limited than I would have anticipated but this is another in the director's line of enduring cinema - he continues to raise the bar. Few directors make films this... hypnotic. This has our highest recommendation. You will get repeat viewings out of this disc! 

Gary Tooze

May 29th, 2010


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

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