Shutter Island-Cineva Lipseste….
Daca initial ma aflam intr-una din cele doua mari tabere, respectiv a celor care credeau ca era nebun de la inceput la sfarsit, dupa ce am mai stat de vorba cu diversi despre film am furat o alta interpretare: respectiv aceea ce la inceput era dement, dupa care, datorita tratamentelor a devenit sanatos. Aceasta interpretare nu numai ca este in concordanta cu intreg scenariul, dar raspunde si la toate intrebarile (spre deosebire de cele doua principale interpretari – ca era nebun cap coada – si ca era sanatos cap coada, care au ceva lacune si lasa unele scene neacoperite).
Prezenta sa in lagarele de concentrare pe de o parte, si faptul ca a fost martor la numeroase atrocitati care au avut loc acolo, cat si drama cumplita de a-si fi gasit copiii plutind pe lac la revenirea sa acasa intr-o zi oarecare i-au provocat boala. A fost atras intr-un fel sau altul la clinica, unde au inceput tratamentele pe baza de pastile, care nu au avut efect. Atunci a fost trimis pe un vas, care a calatorit pana in larg si inapoi – de data aceasta cu un alt scenariu, acela de detectiv federal, scenariu care sa contribuie dpdv psihologic, pe langa pastile, la vindecarea sa. Ca sa fiu mai explicit, el mai fusese, tot ca pacient in acea clinica, inainte de inceputul filmului – dar pentru a nu-l opera, cei de acolo i-au mai acordat o sansa facandu-l sa revina de data aceasta ca detectiv. De-a lungul filmului scenariul detectivului se deruleaza, pastilele se administreaza, si il vedem in dementa sa cum reactioneaza.
In final – are o revelatie si isi aminteste drama copiilor, cat si momentul in care o impusca pe sotie. Acesta este momentul in care el isi revine dpdv mental. Insa, prefera sa se dea in continuare drept dement, pentru a fi operat si a deveni o leguma. Prefera asta, din doua motive. Primul este acela ca de pe acea insula nimeni nu putea sa mai plece vreodata dintre pacienti – pentru a nu se purta vorba despre practicile de acolo – iar al doilea este principiul repetat de mai multe ori de-a lungul filmului respectiv „Which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?”.
Astfel, pentru ca el se da drept dement, se hotaraste interventia asupra lui – pentru ca pastilele nu avusesera efect desi fusesera administrate in repetate randuri, iar odata cu aceasta, viata lui se termina.
Sincer mie imi place mai mult versiunea in care Teddy este sanatos mintal. Este un punct de vedere de pe IMDB care argumenteaza aceasta versiune:
Scorsese is an auter. As such, he makes his movies multilayered. In other words, the most obvious interpreation both the plot arc and meaning of one of his flims is not the end of the story. He makes movies that have an „obvious” meaning and an „arthouse” meaning. Indeed, he structures his movies so that the events of his plot are consistent with both interpretations; it’s just that most people never see the subtext beneath the superficial interpretation.
In the case of Shutter Island, the obvious interpretation is that Teddy Daniels is in fact Andrew. Indeed, Scorsese purposely includes clues throughout the film that foreshadow the „twist.” In fact, Scorsese is trying to make it OBVIOUS that Teddy might be Andrew. Thus, there are plenty of examples to cite as evidence for the interpretation that Teddy is Andrew.
However, there is a deeper subtext to the movie which, once appreciated, suggests that the proper interpretation of the film is that Teddy is actually sane. Let me explain.
Let’s suppose that Teddy is Andrew. On this view of things, Shutter Island becomes nothing more than a combination of Memento and Psycho. We have a character who, due to personal trauma, has repressed past events and lives in a fictional world. At the end of the film, it is revealed that the protaganist has been deluded. This, of course, is what happens in Memento. Now, in Shutter Island, are we supposed to believe that Scorsese adopts this trite plot arc, a classic film noir plot device, and then merely varnishes it with a reference to the end of Psycho? Sorry, folks. This movie is more than a “psychological thriller.” It certainly is inspired by a tradition of great films that take the psychological thriller as their guiding theme. But Scorsese, as all great artists, takes pre-existing elements and then creates something entirely audacious and new from them. He’s not the type of director who is going to end a film with a typical Hollywood plot twist, and then exacerbate the triteness of it all by having it explained to the audience for twenty minutes (Shutter Island is not the Sixth Sense with a gratioutous explanation to “prove” the twist. C’mon!). The interpretation that Teddy is Andrew, then, is the „obvious” interpretation. But, as I mentioned, Scorsese is an auter. There is always a deeper subtext.
What is the subtext in Shutter Island? To put it simply, Teddy Daniels is a veteran of WWII, who has become a Nazi hunter. Shutter Island is a psychiatric ward qua concentration camp staffed by expatriated Nazis. There is so much evidence for this interpretation that I can’t believe it hasn’t already been pointed out. The „role play” scenario is a plot device that Scorsese uses to weave the superficial plot arc under which he then develops this deeper meaning.
If it were really a role play, then the staff wouldn’t have lied to and obstructed Teddy in the myriad of ways that they do:
(1) During the initial search for Rachel, the guard tells Teddy that the lighthouse is empty, that it’s already been searched, and that it is a „sewage treatment” plant. To being with, the lighthouse we initially see isn’t the same lighthouse we see for the rest of the film (the reason why Teddy doesn’t find any evidence of lobotomies in the lighthouse is because it’s not the lighthouse where the lobotomies are conducted!). In any event, why doesn’t he find the sewage treatment equipment at the lighthouse when he gest inside at the end of the film? The guard lied. What reason would the guard have to lie to Teddy if they weren’t trying to conceal anything?
(2) Scorsese purposely designed the gateway entrance of Shutter Island to look like Auschwitz. This is symbolic, and for a reason that is relevant to the plot and meaning of the film (more later).
(3) When the guards request Teddy’s gun, here again we have a SYMBOLIC act that needs to be situated within its proper HISTORICAL context (recall what the Germans did to the Jews prior to the Holocaust). Also, note that Chuck’s gun is handed over in a hulster; Teddy’s is not (this matters for the ending).
(4) Teddy is never allowed to see the Island’s files. Again, if this is truly a role play, and Teddy is given „free run of the island” as Cawley says he is, why can’t he see the files?
(5) The psychiatrist tries to give Teddy a sedative in the hallway. Again, why try to stop the role play with a sedative? This doesn’t fit with the notion that Teddy is being given free reign over the island.
(6) Chuck disappears when Teddy is talking to George (this is relevant to the end.)
(7) Cawley’s second-hand man is introduced in a red chair, learing over a devilish fire, with his back turned (this is a metaphor for the fact that the psychiatrist is an evil, expatriated Nazi psychiatrist).
(8) In line with (7), Teddy recognizes the accent as German. In other words, Teddy instinctively outs the psychiatrist as an expatriated Nazi. The fact that Teddy is able to do so points to the fact that Teddy is more than just a mere deluded mental patient.
(9) Cawley’s living quarters are a metaphor for the „devil’s den.” This is why Teddy and Chuck are INVITED over. Get it? It’s a metaphor folks.
(10) The tie that Teddy is wearing while on the island doesn’t match the tie he imagines himself wearing when he finds his wife and „children.” This is signficant. It suggests that this scene of his wife and kids is a hallucination, not a memory. In other words, there are elements of the “memory” which are fictionalized (more on this later).
(11) Use of cigarettes and „aspirin” are obviously intended to suggest that Teddy is being drugged.
(12) In the scene with his “kids,” Teddy only displays an emotional connection for his “daughter,” not the sons. This is because his „daughter” is actually a victim from a concentration camp. The two boys aren’t even his sons; he didn’t have sons! And the girl is not his daughter. He’s being brainwashed into confabulating the idea that a girl he saw at the concentration camp is his daughter (more support for this in a moment).
(13) Scorsese directly references Schindler’s List by having the girl wear red shoes. This is symbolic. She is the only one of the kids that is actually rooted in the reality of Teddy’s past. Also, this highlights the importance of the Holocaust subtext, and also unifies the interpretation that Shutter Island is actually run by expatriated Nazis.
(14) The warden is clearly a sadist. Why would Cawley, if truly a benign psychatrist, surround himself with a sadist like the warden and obvious former Nazi like Dr. Naehring? Again, the very grounds of Shutter Island harken back to a death camp. In addition, the staff all represent the archetypes of a concentration camp staff (we have the clinical psychiatrists like Mengele, the guards who are like sadist SS guards, and an ambivalent, obedient set of ordilies who „go along to get along” just as the German populance did during WWII.)
Now, for the final scenes:
(1) The gun that they tell Teddy is his is actually Chuck’s (remember the holster?) Why lie and tell Teddy it is his gun when it’s Chuck? Answer: they’re further trying to destabilze his mind.
(2) The document that they produce showing that he is Andrew could easily have been forged. The reason they know all the details about what Teddy thinks is going on is because TEDDY ALREADY TOLD CHUCK during the storm. This also explains Chuck’s mysterious diappearnce when Teddy’s talking to George; Chuck is reporting back to Cawley.
(3)There is no sewage treatment plant at the lighthouse. The guard was lying. Why lie if there’s nothing going on? Answer: there is, but it’s happening at the OTHER lighthouse (the one that Teddy sees the first time, but never revisits).
Also, if it’s a role play, why does Cawley tell Teddy he doesn’t have a partner after Teddy refuses a cigartte in the ward? Cawley is obiously breaking character early, and he does this because he is miffed that Teddy is succumbing to the experiment in the way that the staff has hoped.
But what about the note you say? Well, the note PROVES Teddy is sane. It’s simple math. If Teddy is Andrew, then the guy with the scar across his face (Andrew) and Rachel are fake. That means that there are 65 patients, not 66 on the island. But Cawley insists that there are 66 patients. Thus, for the note to make sense, there must be 66 patients on the island. But if Teddy is Andrew there are only 65 in which case the note makes no sense. The answer is that Andrew and Rachel do exist, and the 67th patient is Teddy qua Teddy. Teddy becomes the 67th patient the second he smokes the laced cigarette on the boat. They try to induce insanity to turn Teddy into a „Ghost.” This serves two purposes: first, it eliminates the possibility of Teddy exposing Shutter Island as a modern day Auschwitz, and it also enables them to experiment on a perfect subject (someone who is highly intelligent with a set of skills that would make him the perfect weapon). This is why they have him lobotomized at the end of the movie. The psychological experiment fails and they no longer have any use for Teddy, so they have him lobotomized. Who makes this decision? The psychiatrists. Just like how the psychiatrists at the concentration campes decided who would be experimented on, who would be put to labor, and who would be murdered. Once the people on Shutter Island no longer have the need to experiment on Teddy, they dispatch him. Again, the literal plot here is metaphorical for what happened at the death camps.
When Teddy talks about the monster and the hero, he’s not talking about himself. He’s telling Chuck that Chuck and the others on the island are monsters. This is why he has a brief look of disdain on his face as he stands up. Then, in a moment of unscripted emotion, Chuck calls Teddy „Teddy.” He has no reason to call him Teddy if he truly isn’t Teddy. If there even ever had been a role play, it was already over. There never was a role play. The explanation of role play is their attempt to induce insanity in Teddy. This is also why the try to tell him that his gun is a toy when the gun is actually Chuck’s? They’re tyring to make him question the most basic things about reality, knowing that, by doing so, they might get him so destabalized that their mind control experiment will work. When it fails, they’re forced to get rid of him a la a prisoner at Auschwitz or Dachau. This isn’t suprising, of course, since Shutter Island is staffed by expatriated Nazis. Teddy, from his war experience, new this. And that’s why they ultimately lured him to the island to conduct a psychological experiment on him, and then had him murdered when it failed.
Like I said, Scorsese is an auter. The Holocaust flashbacks aren’t incidental. They are crucial to the meaning of the film. The Nazi archetypes embodied by many of the staff are not incidental. The fact that the gateway is meant to look like Auschwitz is not incidental. The „obvious” film noir plot arc, a lone crazy man who eventually realizes his insanity, is just Scorese’s skeletal structure to tell the real story he wants to. He’s not making another Memento. He’s not making another Psycho where the audience has to sit through an uncessary twenty minute explanation of what should have been obvious within the first fifteen minutes of the film. Sorry, he’s not doing that. He’s better than that. But it’s in the subtext and most viewers lack the historical knowledge of WWII and Hollywood film history to see how Scorsese appropriating classical film noir motifs and then weaving them in an entirely new, creative way.
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PS: Daca nu a-ti vazut filmul, il recomand cu caldura 🙂