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Shutter Island (2010)

 

Screenplay Genre: Drama / Mystery / Thriller

Movie Time: 138 minutes

1. INCITING INCIDENT

U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) arrive on Shutter Island to assist in the search for a missing patient. They are taken to see Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), who explains the facility, his psychiatry, and that the missing patient, Rachel, has simply “vanished through the walls.” (00:13:00)

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

Teddy becomes angry when the board of directors refuses to release the staff’s personal records. He announces that the investigation is over, and he and Chuck will leave the next morning. That night Teddy has a dream in which his dead wife tells him that Rachel is still on the island, and he must find her. The next morning the storm is so big that the ferry cannot make its way to Shutter Island, so the Marshals stay – literally “locked-in” on the island. (00:30:31)

3. FIRST CULMINATION (Midpoint)

When the back-up generators fail, Teddy and Chuck go to C building. Teddy finds a man mumbling the word “Laeddis”. He thinks it is Cletus, but it turns out to be George Noyce (Jackie Earle Haley) - the man who told Teddy about the awful things happening on Shutter Island. George blames Teddy for the fact that he will never get to leave the island, saying “all of this is for you” and that it’s “all a game.” He then informs Teddy they have taken Laeddis to the lighthouse. (01:11:40)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Teddy enters the lighthouse to discover Dr. Cawley, who explains that Teddy is actually a patient at the facility. We learn that Teddy used to be an agent, but he lost his mind when his wife killed his two children. It’s revealed that Chuck is actually a psychiatrist, and that “Laeddis” is an anagram created by Teddy to play into his fantasy, and that this huge role-playing operation was Cawley’s attempt to save Teddy from a lobotomy. Teddy realizes he has a choice between accepting that he murdered his wife after she killed his children and working through that, or denying the truth and living in a fantasy. (01:40:42)

5. THIRD ACT TWIST

As Teddy and Chuck (Dr. Shaheen) sit on some steps on hospital grounds, Teddy asks Chuck what their next move is, a question that shows he has reverted back to his fantasy. Chuck nods to the other doctors who direct some orderlies toward Teddy. Teddy willingly goes with the orderlies and to his doom: a lobotomy. (02:07:44)