Beyond the Cover Blogathon: Shutter Island

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Hello there, ladies and gentlemen of the internets. I believe you’re asking yourself what the hell is going on here, and don’t worry, I will explain it all to you. I decided about a week ago(ish) that I would take part in a Blogathon held by the terrific Kristina of Speakeasy and the also terrific Liz of Now, Voyaging. The theme of this Blogathon is “Beyond the Cover”, or “Movies based on Books” as the simple man would call it. I found the idea rather intriguing and had the thought “Hey, I read books and I watch movies… maybe I should take part?” and then I signed up. So now we’re here, ready to take on this topic.

The book/movie I have chosen is “Shutter Island”. The book came out in 2003 and was written by Dennis Lehane (Sidenote: He might honestly be my favorite author). Then the movie came out in 2010, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley. As you might’ve been able to tell, this isn’t going to be a conventional review. Instead I will see what the movie did different to the book and also compare the characters and their interactions (Minor spoilers might occur). But I might still give you a normal review of the movie as well in a separate post because, why the fuck not. So let’s do this stuff.

Teddy Daniels
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Edward “Teddy” Daniels is the main protagonist of both the book and the movie (where he’s played by Leonardo DiCaprio). Overall there is no major difference between the two characters, both are U.S. marshals from Boston (Like all Lehane protagonists), both have the same backstory. The only real difference is that there is a slight difference in how he’s physically described in the book and how he’s portrayed in the movie. In the book we get a brief mention that his head is shaved and that he’s a pretty big guy. He is also supposed to look pretty rugged. And in the movie he has a decent amount of hair on his head and he is also not a particularly big guy and he has the face of a DiCaprio. He’s pretty average when it comes to his physical attributes. He is a troubled character, but that is one of the things that make him interesting. DiCpario also does a good job of playing him.

Chuck Aule.
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Chuck Aule is the partner who had been assigned to help Teddy with the investigation of Rachel Solando’s disappearance. In the movie he’s played Mark Ruffalo. What makes this comparison interesting is that there are some differences in both physical description (sort of). In the book he’s described as being about 5’9” (180 cm) tall and a maybe not in perfect shape. He also has hands that look a bit too small in proportion to the rest of the body. In the movie (like I said before) he is played by Mark Ruffalo who is about 5’8”. But with the rest of the appearance (hair/skin) it seems they are pretty close in resemblance. But the biggest difference comes to how he’s portrayed. Ruffalo plays him very well, actually nailing the essence of the character. But in the book he is fucking hilarious, constantly having great lines. In the book he acts as both a comic relief and a serious marshal who helps Teddy. But in the movie he doesn’t have nearly as much awesome stuff to say which is a little sad.

Dr. John Cawley
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Generally speaking, he’s the same. Nothing to add really. Ben Kingsley’s great.

 

Story
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The basic story is (for you unfamiliar few) that two U.S. marshals are sent to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient there. Basic plot is pretty much the same in both the book and the movie. The only differences come in the form of parts being left out. There is for example a part in the book where Teddy has an argument with his dead wife Dolores which ends with him accidentally cutting himself while shaving and being pissed at her. The ending is basically the same as well, I won’t go into detail about it because I’m sure there are at least a few out there who haven’t read the book or seen the film. I’m just saying, they’re basically the same with minor changes done in the film.

Dialogue

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LD – “Ya know that asshole, Markus?” BK – “Yes?” LD – “Yeah, he’s got a great blog.”

This might seem like an odd topic to bring up, but it’s one that I’ve been givin’ some thinkin’ over the past… day. To prepare for this post I read through the book (for the fourth time) and also rewatched the movie (third or fourth time seeing it) and I noticed some things regarding the dialogue in the movie. While the basics of it is intact, a good amount of dialogue has either been altered or removed. I mentioned before how Chuck doesn’t say as much fun stuff as he does in the book, and that’s just the start of it. Relatively large chunks of dialogue that existed in the book has been removed, including a good amount of dialogue from the final confrontation near the end. Having read the book and then moving on to the film in such a quick succession makes these changes very clear which actually annoys me a little bit. I guess a lot of these exchanges were cut out to keep the runtime on the shorter side, but I wouldn’t mind if they made the movie a bit longer to keep those really interesting bits of dialogue in it. But I guess they wanted to keep it at a higher pace and not keep people watching for “too” long… *sigh*.
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What the movie did well
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The previous bit might’ve made me sound like I was just complaining about the film, so let’s just relax and quickly talk about what it did right. The plot holds very well, Scorsese’s directing is terrific, all of the performances are somewhere between really good and fantastic, the music choices (though few) are great, the cinematography is gorgeous and the ending (if you think about it) is absolutely terrific. The movie is also very suspenseful makes for a really interesting and gripping watch.

Conclusion
So those were my thoughts on the book/movie differences for “Shutter Island”. What do you think of this movie? What do you think of the book? Leave any and all thoughts you have in the comments. Also, I might post a regular review for it as well in the near future. So maybe look forward to that! With that said, I will now leave you with a goodbye of some kind and my favorite image/still from the movie.
Have a good one!
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12 thoughts on “Beyond the Cover Blogathon: Shutter Island

  1. *face palm* I didn’t know this movie was based on a novel but now, after reading your review, I have to read the novel. Some terrific performances in the film, and the cinematography is stunning.

    Am really keen to read the book now. Will search for it in the library. Thanks!

  2. Cool to have a couple Lehane adaptations in this blogathon because he’s been adapted pretty well and I hope the movies get people reading his books. Mystic River did that for me. I only saw Shutter Island recently and agree with your analysis. Have you seen The Drop? Liked that one a lot. Great post and thanks so much for taking part in the blogathon!

  3. Excellent work Markus! Love the pic at the top of this xD Shutter Island is one of the few books that had a solid movie – though Lehane’s work is adapted relatively well to screen. I absolutely agree, he is a fantastic author. I think this movie gets way too much hate that it does not deserve.

  4. I really like the movie! Well, I like almost everything Scorsese does, and he has done some more book-to-movie adaptations, like Hugo. I enjoyed how you compared characters, plot and dialog. Shutter Island is a terrific movie, and I imagine the book is even better after reading your review.
    Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! 🙂
    Cheers!
    Le
    http://www.criticaretro.blogspot.com

  5. Very nice post! I liked how you analysed the the book and the movie,and it was really insightful. I often don’t get to see a comparison like that,we need more of this to appreciate the beauty of movies and books.

    I think this might be my favourite scorsese film, I couldn’t really get into taxi driver,good but not great imo. I liked the departed but I loved the original more. I have not seen raging bull though. I liked Hugo alot as well!

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