The meaning of the film “Shutter Island”: the ending and the tricks of Scorsese

The meaning of the film “Shutter Island”: the ending and the tricks of Scorsese

What is the meaning of the plot of one of the best thrillers of recent decades – the film “Shutter Island” (directed by Martin Scorsese)? In order to answer this question, it is necessary to carefully follow all the plot interlacings of the picture, not looking up from the development of the fate of the main characters. According to critics, Martin Scorsese managed to create one of the best thrillers of recent years, the plot of which keeps you in suspense from the first to the last minute of the action. It would be strange to expect anything else from a director who received two Oscars. Of course, one should also note the magnificent game of Leonardo DiCaprio, who managed to convey the depth of nature and the deeply hidden “demons” of the protagonist – Federal Marshal Daniels.

Martin Scorsese Island

It would seem that the meaning of the film “Shutter Island” is quite simple – the struggle of two federal marshals with evil doctors who conduct criminal experiments on patients in a closed psychiatric clinic for the most dangerous mentally ill. But, in fact, Scorsese would not be a brilliant director if everything in his film was so banal. No wonder the reviews about “Shutter Island” were so good that the film almost immediately got into the golden fund of world cinema. The only thing I would like to say is that the film could have been made a little shorter, it turned out to be too stretched. But who knows if the shortened version of the movie masterpiece had such a powerful psychological effect.

the meaning of the movie Shutter Island
Shot from the movie “Shutter Island”

Daniels – crazy or not?

The explanation of the meaning of the thriller that we offer does not play the role of an axiom. That’s the power of the masterpiece, that everyone can decide for himself what is the meaning of the film “Shutter Island”. It would seem that there is an “iron” goodie – Federal Marshal Daniels, who is fighting evil, in the person of criminal doctors. But, in fact, not everything is so simple. The federal marshal himself constantly has hallucinations and nightmares, into which his wife allegedly burned down in the apartment comes. Along the way, a little girl is woven in, making claims that the marshal did not save her from drowning.

The marshal also has attacks of aggression, there is a tremor. Simply put, from a medical point of view, Daniels himself should be placed in a psychiatric clinic. But we dump all this on his military past (he fought, liberated the Dachau concentration camp), in addition, the main character experienced a deep spiritual tragedy – his wife died in the fire. That is, it is impossible to say that Daniels is an inveterate psycho. But his behavior, in any case, needs to be corrected.

A very important role is played by the second character, against which we can see the development of Daniels’ disease – Federal Marshal Chuck. Both main characters are compelling. Martin Scorsese masterfully develops the storyline, and when it turns out that Daniels is the patient of this clinic himself and everything that happens to him is the fruit of his sick fantasy, it becomes a real revelation for most viewers.

Meaning of the movie’s ending

After Daniels realizes his illness, he remembers that he was put in this hospital for the murder of his mentally ill wife (she drowned their three children). It would seem that a person is on the mend, a little more, and he can again become a more or less normal member of society. But Daniels deliberately hides his improvement and goes for a lobotomy in order to forget everything that happened to him before. In fact, he deliberately destroys himself as a person. In our opinion, the meaning of the film’s ending is that the hero DiCaprio realizes that he will not be able to cope with the burden of his problems, he will not be able to become a normal person again. And, of course, he is unable to live with the memories of the death of his wife, whom he loved and killed very much, and the death of his three children. In any case, even if he had temporarily recovered, the weight of those memories would, sooner or later, plunge him back into madness. Realizing this, Daniels consciously goes to his death as a human being.

The meaning of the film “Shutter Island”: the ending and the tricks of Scorsese
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