Shutter Island (2010) Review And Ending Explained!

If you are someone who watches a movie with the thought that the perspective of a movie defines it entirely, then you need to watch Shutter Island. With Martin Scorsese as the director, this movie lives up to every thrilling expectation it promised us! 

Shutter Island (2010) Review

Shutter Island 2010 Review Ending Explained Rating Summary Martin Scorsese

Shutter Island is a psychological thriller/mystery that will make you grip your teeth. The movie starts with an investigation of a brilliant murderess. She has vanished from an extensively locked room into thin air that brings two U.S Marshal Teddy Daniels, played by Leonardo Dicaprio and Chuck Aule, played by Mark Ruffalo, to an asylum named Ashecliffe Mental Institution located in the Shutter Island. This remote island makes departures difficult. Although the movie starts with an investigation for the brilliant murderess, the story is mostly about the search for the killer of Andrew Laeddis’s wife. There is a reason why the institution looks so sketchy and enigmatic throughout the movie, as the institution has such dark secret locked within that might be revealed if the investigation goes any further. Hence, both the Marshals become a victim. The depth of the investigation is deepening with the fears of Teddy, which makes him realize that it will be very difficult to make it out alive from this island. While investigating the case in the Ashecliffe hospital, Teddy finally finds a lead on whom the model can be, but unfortunately, the hospital refuses access to the records, which makes it suspect of the creepy business that might be going inside the hospital behind closed curtains. This is when you see the twist that you were not at all expecting. While investigating, a doctor tries to make teddy understand that the 67th patient at the hospital is Teddy and his real name is Andrew.

Shutter Island (2010) Ending Explained!

Confused right? Yes, the truth is that Teddy is not a real person, but a delusion created by the doctors of the mental hospital, but this will be hard to decipher if you don’t understand the climax of Shutter Island completely. 

Shutter Island 2010 Flashback Scenes Explained
“It’s Saturday, honey. School’s not in on Saturday.”

The whole movie is based on role-playing strategies plotted by Dr. Cawley and Dr. Jeremiah, from bringing Teddy/ Andrew to Shutter Island to the ending where Andrew finally realizes his real identity and the crime he committed. Andrew Laeddis was the most dangerous patient of the mental asylum because he murdered his wife and drowned his children to death. The reason that Andrew was forced to commit such a crime was that his wife was trying to burn the apartment where they lived and kill everyone there. Committing such a hideous crime shook him to the core, and he started imagining things like he was still a U.S. Marshall, his name was Teddy Daniels. His wife was murdered by a killer named Andrew Laeddis. Concerned by Andrew’s behavior, the lead doctors of the asylum decided to experiment to reach the subconscious mind of Andrew to make him remember and realize the mistake that he had committed. Now, in several parts of the movie, some actions indicate the role-playing experiment being performed on Andrew. Like, at the beginning of the movie, when Andrew was still in the ocean on his way to Shutter Island, he was suffering terribly due to his fear of water and not seasickness or motion sickness. This indicates that Andrew’s subconscious mind still fears and agonizes due to the terrible deed that he had committed by drowning his children in the past. Another hint that we get while watching this movie is when Andrew reaches the island and gets greeted by the police officers, who got awkward after watching Andrew, and they looked concerned. The film is a series of hints that the director had beautifully planned for the audience to catch on to, which is why many people who do not watch the movie carefully do not completely understand the movie. 

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The perfectness of the thriller comes with the different instances where the audience is left blank when the role-playing experiment of the doctors succeeds bit by bit to make Andrew remember the things that he did. On the other hand, Andrew’s mind forced him to hallucinate about several incidents so that he does not get to remember the most heartbreaking incident of his life. Like when the doctors played out the meeting with Rachel Solando, who was technically his wife in the real world, almost at the last minutes of the film, it was shown that Andrew meets another Rachel who claimed to be a doctor in the Ashecliffe hospital and states that the doctors in the hospital tried to kill her and perform experiments on her by turning her into a patient. These hallucinations played by Andrew’s mind in the process of not remembering his crimes drove him completely mad. He started suspecting that maybe the hospital was trying to lure him to the island so that they could turn him into a fellow prisoner and perform shock therapy and illegal experiments on him. This led him to visit the ending process of the experiment where Dr. Cawley almost revealed to Andrew his true identity, and the lighthouse dilemma was pre-planned by the doctors as the last stage of the experiment. This was also previously hinted at in the film when Chuck / Dr. Sheehan acted his fall from the cliff to stop Andrew from going to the lighthouse; otherwise, their treatment experiment would have failed. 

Shutter Island 2010 Climax Ending Explained
“Which would be worse – to live as a monster, or to die as a good man?”

So, when we come to the ending scene where Dr. Sheehan gives the last chance to Andrew whether or not he came back to his consciousness and remembered everything because if it was not the case, then Andrew would be lobotomized. In the ending scene, it was shown that Sheehan, before lobotomizing Andrew calls him Teddy. This leaves the audience with another confusion as to whether or not Andrew / Teddy is a criminal and the tricks of the corrupt hospital or Dr. Sheehan was actually sympathetic. So, the straight answer is yes, Dr. Sheehan was sympathetic. Everything that was revealed in the end was the actual truth, but it will be wise to let the audience decide, what do you guys think is the truth?

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