Dennis Lehane must have been delighted with the film version of his novel Mystic River and, although I haven't read the original book, I imagine he will have been equally gratified by the adaptation of Shutter Island directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
The film benefits from a combination of an excellent plot, strong characterisation and atmospheric visuals. We are introduced to Leonardo DiCaprio as the detective setting out by boat, together with his partner, to a small but forbidding island which is home to a hospital for the criminally insane. They are investigating the disappearance – apparently from a locked room! – of a woman who murdered her three children.
The chief psychiatrist is played by Ben Kingsley and he seems to be a particularly menacing character, as do other doctors and the tough warden who is in charge of security. What exactly is the secret of Shutter Island? Is it possible that dirty work is going on, and that the psychiatrists are seeking to conduct mind control experiments on their patients? It is the sort of place that is tailor-made for conspiracy theories.
The story has an excellent twist ending, one of the best since The Usual Suspects. Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley both give impressive performances and there are plenty of striking images and memorable scenes. The film left me wanting to read the book, which speaks for itself. Recommended viewing.