Perhaps Martin Scorsese has a fetish for Leonardo Di Caprio with a Boston accent, seeing as this is the second such film where the two have collaborated. This however, does not take away from the film. Shutter Island is about US Marshall Edward Daniels (Di Caprio) making his way over to Shutter Island, a Boston Harbor island that houses a prison for the criminally insane. People both mentally disturbed and dangerous: wives that cut up their husbands are among the common offenses. The reason the good detective and his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) travel to such a place is to investigate the escape of a patient (or “prisoner” as Daniels has the tendency to call them). As the investigation proceeds, it becomes more and more unlikely that this could have happened. There is no trace of escape in the room, there is no place on the island for her to hide without having died, no one even heard an escape attempt, “Its as if she evaporated straight through the walls.” The more insane the investigation becomes, so does Daniels it seems. The film draws us deep into the psyche of past traumas in his life (the liberation of the Dechau concentration camp, the death of his beloved wife, dependency on alcohol before and after the latter). By the end of the movie, we learn that Di Caprio has been living in a delusional, yet complex world, where he plays the hero, but can never catch the villain because he is the villain in reality. For his wife was not killed by the one he believed (Andrew Leitus), it was Daniels himself. Scorsese has once again created a great film. This psychological thriller is looking like an early strong candidate for at least a few 2011 Academy Awards.
Though this is quite an extreme example, Shutter Island highlights what is experienced by delusional people. They have fixed beliefs that, while not bizarre, are definitely false. It is not a serious disorder and is highly treatable if a quality therapist-patient relationship is built. Those diagnosed can lead highly functional lives.