Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SHUTTER ISLAND (Martin Scorsese, 2010)


When you watch Orson Welles’ “The Trial”, you are startled and beguiled by Welles’ baroque pyrotechnics and formal mastery, but you also get the sense that Welles read and understood Kafka's novel. Scorsese on the other hand, gives you the sense that he watched “The Trial” twenty times, didn't particularly understand what it's about, but thought it was moody and cool, so he set out to make a textureless, meaningless but infinitely more expensive rehash, shrouded in the ever-fashionable veneer of dark macho profundity with a Twist.

That said, oh what fun it is to watch $100-million (plus marketing costs) materialise into something so abstract, so inarticulately ambitious, so aggresively and (alas) pretentiously arty. It's unquestionably a failure, but it's a strange, arresting failure. You don't want to see this kind of thing happen again, but it's kind of hilarious and exciting to see it happen at all.