This is gonna be a full on discussion about aspects of the movie in depth with complete assumption that you have seen the movie. *SPOILER WARNING* (third warning now if you count twice in the title)
This movie doesn't have the kind of twist where you come out and you can say two or three different things about the ending (which i equally respect either way). It is a crystal clear psychological issue that was dealt at the end with all the questions answered so that nobody comes out and says "everyone in shutter island is trying to frame Teddy Daniels that he's crazy 'cause he knows about the human experiments that are going on in the island"
I am inclined to agree with most reviews that spill crew gives out because they have valid points (except Cyrus 'cause I knew he was gonna say that shit about Book of Eli review!! rawr j/k Cyrus <3) but the last line in the movie turned the movie from full price to better than sex for me.
1. First dream with his wife: This is one of many things I liked about the movie where I was watching it and Teddy talks about how she died of Smoke Inhalation and then you see her kinda burning away to ash which is cool with the really awesome visual contrast between the colors of the surrounding (overly bright) and ash coming down throughout the dream. In this dream, you have 3 big questions. a) Why is she telling him to stay and how does she know about some stuff that Teddy wouldn't know since dreams are not really supposed to investigate for you but are your thoughts. - This question arises through other dreams too where she tells him about shit Teddy shouldn't know about if he was really just a Marshall investigating. b, c) Why was blood coming out of her lower abdomen and why was she wet? - I loved catching the last part of the dream where blood was coming out of her stomach and going "why is her whole body turning to ash and just before that it looks like she starts bleeding out of a puncture wound (gunshot wound)" Also why is she wet? Well we know at the end too.
2. Dream about Jewish camp where the girl tells him that he should've saved her. This dream was the most obvious "why does she say that" kind of clue to the ending because why only her out of all the frozen corpse in that concentration camp. There was another one where he helps Rachel carry the dead children's bodies which also points to the ending.
3. Ending I could talk about every detail in the movie but I'm gonna end with the last line of the movie where he goes back to Teddy and says something like "would you die a good man or live as a monster". Viewers are supposed to have a flash back to the beginning of the investigation where Dr. Cawley says that mental patients choose to be insane. This also explains how he had a breakthrough 9 months ago and relapsed.
I loved how almost every dialogue in the movie points to the ending and viewers are always interpreting it the other way or just throw it away as not important (these viewers would not have liked the movie as much as I did). I was fully immersed throughout the whole movie and I am definitely going to go back to see things that I didn't catch the first time. This movie was made for people like me who love psychological twists.
First of all, the ending was brilliant! That last line of the film is still in my mind.
The thing that gave everything away was right in the beginning of the film, although secretive. When Teddy's partner is forced to hand over his gun, he has an extremely hard time taking it off. Any real U.S Marshall would not have that problem with that simple task and he also did not act like a real U.S Marshall either.
The film has been bashed really hard and have no idea why.
Yeah I loved this film to, but I think the ending could have been tighter. I'll explain...
As you have pointed out, in the last scene Andrew/Teddy has that existential dilemma between either being the 'good man' or 'the monster'. I find most people leaning towards Andrew/Teddy being sane, and choosing to get the lobotomy to rid the world (and himself) of the monster that is Andrew. As they mentioned earlier, the lobotomy will essentially turn him into a 'zombie', becoming more docile and easier to control.
My issue with Andrew choosing the lobotomy, and therefore essentially choosing to 'die', is that he recognized his past actions as wrong yet does not want to fix his character. If he recognizes the monster he was, than he has the ability to change. Andrew could have chosen to adopt the good traits that he displayed as Teddy and secured some amount of redemption. The lobotomy becomes the easy way out: instead of facing his demons, he opts for 'suicide'.
What bothered me about the end, is that moment before the final scene, he sits in his room and admits to who he is and what he had done: he says his real name, tells why he killed his wife, and why he made up Teddy Daniels (and the other hallucinations). It just seems that time is wasted, as that scene in his room could have been the scene where he chooses the lobotomy, and his realization of reality could have been pushed backed to the scene in the lighthouse.
Of course, Scorsese is the director, and probably knows a little more about making a film then I do (lol). I just can't convince myself either way. I think it boils down to this: if he was sane and chooses the lobotomy, than I don't like his decision. Actually, as I'm typing this, I find myself struggling with my feelings about the film. Either way, I still loved it.
@Rabid Scotsman: When Chuck handed over that gun, I turned to my girlfriend and laughed saying "what kind of US Marshall can't handle his gun". *Duh* lol.
The scene in the room is the scene where Dr. Cawley explains his relapse 9 months ago and here's my take on what goes in that scene and why he relapses back into Teddy Daniels.
The ultimate issue with Andrew's choice is that he believes that his children's death is his fault which is explained throughout the movie. That breakthrough then and 9 months before that are both incomplete in a sense where the doctor only gets Teddy back to Andrew and to point zero where he is still traumatized. Andrew reconfirms his details and viewers are given clear details on what happened then and why he "chose" to escape reality and pretty much forget all the details of his trauma (not the jewish concentration camp one but with his children). He needed (if I may put it so elegantly) a "Good Will Hunting" moment where the professor gets through Will that all that "shit isn't his fault" and that's what ultimately turns him back to Teddy.
I can see and empathize with Andrew here since you can see in his flashback that he comes back after few days of avoiding his mentally unstable wife and makes up an excuse as he's walking in by telling her right then "how busy it's been" (which is what people do when they lie: they cannot wait to tell the lie even tho nobody asked about it). The avoiding part is also explained by Dr. Cawley and I can see where he blames himself since he didn't take care of his wife and that ultimately lead to losing his children (he also shot his wife so that's his fault but I would've done the same). I am not even really on the fence about it: I would blame myself for 3 of my children dying because I didn't take care of my wife who was mentally unstable and I can see myself turning psychotic after.
Anyway, that's my take on that and maybe the viewers didn't need to be re-confirmed on exact details but I liked it nonetheless and I think the fact that there's a history of relapse is an important detail and it was essential to my understanding of the repeated relapse of Andrew Laeddis.
I, however, do not agree with speculations that Andrew is consciously making the choice of escaping the reality by going back to Teddy and for voluntary lobotomy. If he was doing that, Scorsese would've gone a different direction from the beginning with Teddy giving hints about how he is aware of himself being Andrew. He does not, so I do think Scorsese intended the audience to recognize that Andrew is not consciously "pulling a Teddy" and pretending the whole way through the movie and pretending at the end. If Andrew was just pretending to be Teddy, then his relapse 9 months ago would be the same as this one and that would be implying that he has been pretending for 9 months and this whole movie and his internal confusion/conflict would be deemed useless and pretentious.
PS: WTF at the picture below.. can someone erase that?
i loved the movie, especially the ending. But i saw it coming, which really pissed me off. But i got over it, i just really like to be surprised but i guess since im a fellow film maker i noticed all the little wink winks and clues that lead to the twist.
but overall i still give it a low Full Price. i was gonna give it a high Matinee but that last line literally made me say "......wow." its one of those lines that really make you think, so that brought it up to a low Full Price.
I think he chooses to get the lobotomy in the end because he knows the truth and although he can face it, he is afraid that like 9 months ago he will be like a tape recorder and again live a lie so now he gives himself up to die a good man. I loved the ending and the last line no doubt made the movie for me.
The thing that i loved most about this movie was the script, the dialogue between the characters. I thought it was really well written and every single thing the characters said was smart and interesting. As someone obsessed with movie quotes, i got a lot of good ones out of this movie, especially the last phrase. The only thing i really hated was that sometimes it just got waaaaaay too slow. I understand the significance of all the hallucinations, but i think that sometimes they dwelled a little too long on the same idea instead of moving on. Especially during the ending when he was reliving how his children died, that could have been edited a lot more because i felt that they tried to make it emotional but to me it wasn't an emotional movie, it was a psychological one and i just wanted to get back to the present.
I am also one of the people who believe that he went into the lobotomy intentionally. Its just that the look that him and chuck exchanged right before completely convinced me that he knew what he was doing. i think that his memory came back for good this time because he was off his meds.
I have some experience with mentally ill people and I love psychological films.. sometimes those insane people have a moment of sanity before they go back to insane.. their trauma and their emotional scar may be too big to recover from.. as i mentioned earlier, when I saw that he turned back to Andrew Laeddis, he only recovered to the point where he turned insane.. he didn't get past his pain nor did he face it... well that's my opinion anyway