Shutter Island Essay. I’m going to write an essay about a film named Shutter Island which was taken from Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel which is also called Shutter Island, the film it’s self was directed by Martin Scorsese in 2010. In my essay I plan to write about how important the genre and the characters is to the film and how the film makers use it to create a successful film. To give you a brief of the film I am going to use Gustav Freytag’s five part analysis, exposition; two U.
S. Marshals, Edward “Teddy” Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule, who have been sent to the Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island which is located in Boston Harbour to take part in an investigation about the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando, who was accused of drowning her three children. Then there’s the rising action; shortly after they arrive on the island, a storm stops them from returning to the mainland for a couple of days.
Teddy soon finds that the staff are confrontational; the lead psychiatrist, Dr John Cawley refuses to hand over records of the hospital staff and Rachel Solando’s doctor, Dr Sheehan who had suddenly left on vacation after her disappearance plus Teddy and his partner Chuck have been band from searching Ward C and they are also told that the lighthouse on the island has already been searched.
The turning point is when Teddy begins to have migraine headaches, horrible visions of his involvement in the Dachau liberation reprisals and he also has rather disturbing dreams of his wife, Dolores Chanal who was killed in a fire set by arsonist Andrew Laeddis. Teddy decides to break into Ward C and he meets George Noyce who is another patient. George warns Teddy that Ashecliffe is performing experiments on the patients and sends the people who can’t be cured to the lighthouse to be lobotomized. When Teddy begins to leaves Gorge claims that everyone on the island, including his new partner is playing this delusional game designed for Teddy.
The climax is when Teddy goes to the lighthouse and breaks into it. At the top of the lighthouse he finds Dr Cawley waiting for him. Dr Cawley explains that “Daniels” is really Andrew Laeddis, which was made up after killing his wife after she drowned their three children. According to Dr Cawley, the events that had happened over the last couple of days had been designed to break Laeddis conspiracy which was insanity by allowing him to play out the role of Daniels which was an anagram of his name. The fallen action happens when
Laeddis sits on the hospital grounds with Dr Sheehan; he calls him “Chuck” and says they need to get off the island. Dr Cawley takes this as a sign of regression so decides there’s nothing more he could do. The resolution happens when they take him away, Laeddis asks Dr Sheehan, “Which would be worse? To live as a monster, or die as a good man? ” and then calmly leaves with the doctors. The gothic setting is really important to the film in a whole as it makes us see the film for the way it is because if you have loads of flowers and bright happy colours in a mystery/horror film you aren’t going to get the same effect are you?
No, so all the gothic genre mixes with the plot and show’s us the true effect of the genre. There are loads of gothic settings amongst the story line, for example; the island itself, hospital building, mansion, death camps, ward C, woods, cemetery, cave, the lighthouse, fog, the extreme weather, darkness, the lake, etc. But I am going to write about the main three in my opinion. The first one I am going to write about is the death camps because they hold a whole lot of darkness in their name never mind anything else.
In the film we see the death camp through Teddy’s dreams and we are hit with death and decay straight of the bat and then there’s dark colours mixing with greys to make the moment even darker and the whole idea is very eerie with its secrets which is important to the film because it lets us see a different side to the genre and not just the typical hidden passage ways and it also strikes up our emotions because we all know the uncanny truth about what happened in death camps.
The second one I am going to write about is the extreme weather, usually there’s some of this in every gothic tale but I like how they used it in this film because they hit us with the mysterious storm and the darkness behind it which brings a very eerie feeling but while Teddy and Aule are out during this storm they run through the woods and into a cemetery where they take shelter, which is also two other factors of a gothic genre and this helps us see how dark the story is straight from the start.
The last gothic setting, but the best one I am going to write about is the Lighthouse as it’s the ultimate and strongest gothic setting throughout the whole film. In my opinion this Lighthouse has the ultimate gothic feelings in it, it holds mystery, something everyone loves but hates at the same time because the suspense kills us. It has death and decay all over it as people had died from time to time getting lobotomized, the darkness practically oozes from the Lighthouse.
It’s very eerie with its location, surrounded by water and sharp rocks, away from every one which gives us an uncanny feeling about why they use it and all the dark shades of grey and black from the outside to the inside of the Lighthouse. But in the end of the film we also see it’s the place that holds all secrets and the truth, the place where the emotional extremes are held and to me that’s why it’s the most important gothic setting throughout the film. Each character in this film holds a very different type of gothic from a hero to a villain and then to a manic Byronic hero.
The three characters I am going to write about give a different importance to the film, each give a different purpose from sticking emotions to making us shiver from the bottom of the spine to the top and back down again yet there’s always one you can’t help feeling dramatically sorry for. The first character I am going to write about is the hero who in my opinion is obviously Dr John Cawley; he never gave up on Teddy when everyone else would have. He was willing to hold out and help him through what he had done and give him a chance to sort his life out and make something of himself.
Dr Cawley did do harsh things, played tricks with Teddy’s mind, played into his second persona and even repeated stuff he had said to his wife, “Why you all wet, baby? “, on the day he killed her out of revenge for his three kids but even with that considered it was all for Teddy’s benefit and I think that’s what made him such a good here character as he seemed like the villain who was covered in darkness all the way through the film until we see what he was truly doing for Teddy.
This is important to the film because it gives us a twist of guilt for hating him and it also shows a whole different side to the story. The second person I am going to write about is the villain who is Dolores Chanal whose plays the role of a murderer, a wife and a mother. But at the start we see a sweet house wife who had a very loving husband and she was murdered out of cold blood which makes us feel sorry for her because she didn’t deserve it but as the story begins to unfold we find out that none of that was true and that she was mentally ill and needed real help.
We feel hatred for her as she rips her family apart and kills her three young children and ruins her husband’s life but we also feel a deep sadness for her because she really lost herself to the point she couldn’t control herself and she couldn’t be blamed for her actions. This is the most important role in the whole film because if we take this role away there would be no film, the story would crumble without the villain. The last character I am going to write about is the manic Byronic hero who is Edward “Teddy” Daniels who is better known as Andrew Laeddis.
There is so much to this one character that I don’t see why he never cracked up before killing his wife, he served in the second world war and he was part of the Dachau liberation reprisals which means he seen some pretty disturbing things that were filled with darkness and then he came home to a wife who was seriously ill and he knew this, “After she tried to kill herself the first time, Dolores told me she… she had an insect living inside her brain. She could feel it clicking across her skull, just… pulling the wires, just for fun. She told me that. She told me that but I didn’t listen.
I loved her so much. “, which shows he loved her so much that he couldn’t just put her away so he moved to a nice lake house in the country thinking that this would cure her but it doesn’t help, nothing helps. So when he comes home after a hard day of work and see his kids dead in the water he loses his self and kills his wife, in a way I think he didn’t just do it out of revenge for his kids, I think he did it out of love and mercy for his wife so he put her out of her misery and because of this I can’t make myself mad at him I only feel sympathy and sadness for his loss.
This all came as such a shock that he made himself a second persona were he began to hate the real him, Andrew Laeddis, he knew he killed her but he got that lost in himself that he made up the second him. All this is vital to the story as a whole because he is a maniac yet he is a Byronic hero with his troubled past and how he tries to become a better person but what really struck me is how the film makers made the last sentence in the film very deep and dark, “Which would be worse? To live as a monster, or die as a good man? , because we can see that he is totally cured yet he would rather be lobotomized to forget what he done than to face it and live with it and to me that is very dark and gothic. The film makers made this film amazingly good, each technique made us think differently to the outstanding setting to the mind-blowing characters. They used every gothic term in the book and made it into their own way and it worked out well, they defiantly deserved the award they gained for this brilliantly well-made film. In my conclusion you can see I have written why
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