Shutter Island

Shutter Island ★★★★★

Scorsese places himself in dialogue with Jacques Tourneur and Samuel Fuller, self-consciously drawing on the aesthetics of post-war American noir to explore the roll that genre cinema plays in working through collective trauma. Teddy is a man irrevocably damaged by the atrocities he witnessed during the war, but he is expected to remain silent by a society which would prefer to erase all traces of these horrors (and the U.S. government's complicity in them). An awareness of the mass-scale suffering that modernity can enable combined with the historical amnesia that his homeland fosters results in psychosis, so Teddy retreats into a fantasy which morphs his trauma into a more psychologically palatable form. When this fantasy is forcibly stripped away, the act of facing his past directly is so agonising that Teddy chooses to remain in the fiction.