Some movies leave such an impact on us that it is hard to get over them. If you’re a fan of thrillers, surely you’ve seen or heard of Shutter Island, which was released back in 2010. This masterpiece by Martin Scorsese gave us thrills and chills, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to consider it the best movie of that year.
The neo-noir psychological thriller held many visual cues and secrets within its visual composition that many fans are unfamiliar with to this very day. Let us travel a bit back in time and explore various scenes within the movie which were hinting at the actual story of the movie all along. Obviously, spoilers ahead.
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During the first half of the movie, we get to witness an interrogation scene where Teddy, Chuck Aule, and Nellie Sciuttos are sitting at a table. During Teddy’s (Leonardo Dicaprio) interrogation of Nellie, whom he considers as a sane person, Nellie razes her hand to her mouth while a glass of water is in her other hand. She is basically drinking out of thin air, and most viewers miss this visual cue due to the intensity and buildup of the scene. This clearly depicts the woman having mental issues, yet Teddy takes her as sane woman, shedding light on his own well-being.
Later on, upon being interrogated about the physical appearance of Doctor Sheehan, the woman is constantly looking at Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) as she says, “He isn’t hard on the eyes,” and we get to see a number of cut scenes where they show Chuck feeling a bit shy as she describes his personality. This also points towards Doctor Sheehan being present at the table, but the incredible direction of the movie lets this slip by.
Dr. Cawley’s Explanation
Dr. Cawley, the head of the institute where Teddy is holding the investigation, also gives us interesting cues pointing towards Teddy being a patient. When Cawley is explaining the treatment of the mental patients in the past, he discusses the barbaric procedures that were used back then, which included holding their heads under ice water. He then hesitates for a while before saying that some of them also drowned. That hesitation was in response to what drowning might trigger in Teddy’s behavior, because he had a tragic history related to that.
Guards and their Reactions
We can observe at various instances within the movie how the guards are cautious with their guns when Teddy enters and explores the institute. They are seen eyeing Teddy suspiciously as if they were looking at a savage patient, which also suggests Teddy having a history with them.
While looking for Rachel Solando, it can be clearly observed how peaceful the guards are, sitting on the rocks with bored looks on their faces, although supposedly a patient has escaped. This suggests that there was an act at play, and the guards weren’t cautious enough to carry out their act properly in that moment in front of Teddy Daniels.
During a boardroom meeting, Teddy enters the room full of doctors and starts asking questions about #67 and the rule of 4. A doctor in the background says, “I love that, the rule of 4.” Cawley disapprovingly looks over his shoulder at the doctors remarks. He is basically pointing towards Teddy’s family tragedy where four people died, and is a part of the act where he is trying to jog Teddy’s memory so that he may start realizing the reality.
The entire character of Rachel Solando is built around Teddy’s personal story, and halfway through the movie, we get to see how Teddy starts becoming more and more involved and frustrated by her story at the same time. Teddy has sea sickness from the beginning. Constantly throwing up for a marshall is uncommon unless they have a history with water, as Teddy does.
All these pointers are lying there inside the movie all interconnected. Now that you know about these cues, watching the movie again sounds exciting, right? We recommend that you do that, and you’ll definitely be able to appreciate the movie from a new angle after this. You can either enjoy this masterpiece in hardback editions or online, if that’s your preference. Be sure to check Frontier internet options in your local vicinity if it’s the latter scenario. There are other incredible movies like this which include lots of visual cues, and for your next viewing we would recommend Fight Club. So get to your sofa, and enjoy these masterpieces from a newly presented point of view.