You are on page 1of 2

1) Camerawork: Interesting camerawork had been used in the Opening

sequence for Shutter Island in a cleverly done way. In this still you can see
that the camera shows the location and setting of the Island. It makes the
dense forests and old buildings visible which enhances the mood of the
shot. The aerial shot also allows you to see the guards hidden in the tall
grass and this also builds up the suspense. This is a single take scene, the
camera moves from the aerial position and zooms in closer and closer to
the main characters in the truck. This emphasises just how small and
vulnerable they look in this small island.
2) Props & Costume: In this second still you can see the use of costume and
props to enhance the mood of the thriller. The director opted for a series of
different range shots of the guards in various positions and this helps the
audience to understand that there are many guards very obviously
there, and others farther away in all directions. But most importantly, the
shots highlight the presence of their huge guns and this creates tension
and unease already at the start of the film. Certainly a great way to build
up the mystery and enhance the mood. The use of props and costume
(which has been emphasise by the acting) is very effective in this shot.
3) Location & Setting: There is no question that this is the shot where the
Director has chosen to present setting and location. This is a very effective
shot in terms of setting up a thriller. The island is shown perfectly in the
centre of the screen, you can see the water surrounding it. This shows the
audience that this island is isolated and it is not easily accessible, nor is it
easy to leave it this creates tension because it means that the main
characters will be not be able to leave the island easily if they enter it.
Note also how the island is illustrated. It is not presented as a paradisiac
island with sunshine and a beach. The Island looks dark and uninviting and
this helps to create a mysterious and thrilling mood.

4) Narrative: This still shows the first shot where the first dialogue is
exchanged. This scene sets up the narrative as it presents the main
characters in a boat across the sea on their way to the island. This is
clearly the point where the Director wishes to introduce the narrative. This
is a good way to introduce the story because it looks like a casual
conversation, but in truth, the characters are introducing themselves, their
background and the story of the island.
5) Genre: In this still, we see the shot of the entrance gates to the mental
institution. This really highlights the genre of the film suspense and
psychological thriller. Psychological thrillers usually explore a story about
an enigma revolving around a mental disorder or people who are
psychologically unhealthy. The closed gates and brick walls make the
place appear uninviting and threatening and this heightens the feel of
suspense. Also the low angle used to present this shot makes the brick
walls and gates look very tall and this also helps to build on the genre and
the mood of the story.
6) Title of Film: The title of the film is written in the same font as the other
titles during the opening sequence. The still shows that the shot is very
minimalistic just large sens serif font against a plain black background.
However the font looks like its made of metal and it has a fading effect on
it which fits well with the genre of the film.
7) Font and Style: As previously said, the font style is at first very simplistic.
However, the metal look and faded effect suit the genre because fading
and darkness emphasise a sense of mystery and suspense. The formal feel
of the title might be a link to the fact that the film is about and
investigation and a mental health institution so it is a clearly and formally
written font. In addition, the harsh edges of the font give it a solid look,
like a bar of metal or a tool which could hurt if used as a weapon. This
depicts Shutter Island as a formal but harsh and dangerous place.
8) Special Effects: In this still, you can see the very first scene the audience
is presented with a shot of the boat sailing across the foggy seascape.
The screen starts off as a blank image and the boat fades in as if the fog
was clearing away. The fog is very effective special effect, it is incredibly
suitable for this type of film and genre. I have previously mentioned, the
use of fades, fog and darkness are popular conventions of the thriller
genre. This is because in thriller films there is usually an enigma or
mystery waiting to be resolved and the fog emphasises the idea of the
9) Introduction of Characters: This still shows the shot when the first
character is presented to the audience. This scene is very effective in
setting the mood about the characters in the film. When we first see Leo
Dicaprios character he is being sick down in the bathroom and he get up
to reveal his reflection on the mirror. The man we see in the mirrors
reflection is sweaty, sick, stress and has a small injury on his forehead.
This shows the character is in distressed and invites the audience to feel
his uneasiness. This is an effective way to highlight the tension and mood
of the thriller narrative that is about to be told.