Dennis Lehane has got to be one of the best thriller writer’s of our times. That is based on the one novel of his that I have read – Shutter Island. I have had the Lehane on-screen experience through Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone (though I have only watched the trailer here, but I do know quite a bit of the story to realise the significance of the plot). I then heard that Martin Scorsese was adapting another Dennis Lehane novel called ‘Shutter Island’ and I decided that this would be my first read of that author. Trip to Blossom’s, a bout of flu in Mangalore and I ended up reading the entire book in bed in a day, page to page, word for word and boy was it the best psychological thriller ever. I have watched the trailers of Martin Scorsese‘s filmof the same name with Leonardo DiCaprio, but you gotta read the real thing before the movie gets to the theatre.
Shutter Island is the name of an asylum, for the most dangerous mentally disturbed individuals, located off the coast of Massachusetts. From page 1 you get an ominous feel of the environment that the two US Marshals – Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule, are getting into. Daniels and Aule are sent to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a dangerous murderess – Rachel Solando, from the institution. They reach Shutter Island but are then cut off from the mainland by a hurricane that severes all communication lines. In the midst of this hurricane with a deranged prisoner mysteriously on the loose, Daniels and Aule try and probe an uncooperative staff for more on this disappearance. There is something hidden here and the marshals start revisiting the rumours they heard about the island – it being an experimental research facility where Frankenstein-like experiements took place. I won’t go beyond this.
The brilliance of this novel lies in its attention to detail and the grip and gothic horror that Lehane maintains from the start of the novel. While reading this I couldn’t help but compare it to another brilliant book – Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Equally gripping there were parallels here – Strangers visit the island and a hurricane takes place. Strangers are trapped and there’s something out there waiting to get them. They fight against the system to get off the island. But in this case you had the dinosaurs to contend with. It’s much easier when you know the enemy. However it becomes a whole new ball game when you do not know who or what to look for or where to start an investigation or devise an escape plan. That’s what Shutter Island is – a no holds bar mystery thriller that kept me hooked till the last page.
Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone were all critically acclaimed films based on Dennis Lehane’s critically acclaimed novels. Watching the trailer of Shutter Island today, I was immediately interested at the same time disappointed. The trailer seemed too clean compared to the dark grittiness of the novel. The movie trailer did not thrill me, rather it only interested me. I may be wrong when the movie releases in October this year. But all the same I would suggest reading the novel before watching it on celluloid.
P.S. I also recommend you not to watch the trailer. Read the book first.