Analysis on Shutter Island
When we talk about psychological thriller movies, Shutter Island is one name that usually pops up. It is an extremely complex thriller that must be watched a couple of times to fully understand.
— Spoiler alert! —
The movie begins with a ferry boat ride to Shutter Island, an island that holds a mental asylum for the criminally insane. Teddy, played by Leonardo Dicaprio believes he is a government Marshall looking for a missing patient named Rachel Solando, with the assistance of his accomplice Chuck. In reality Ted is Andrew Laeddis, a war veteran, who was exposed to the most gruesome aspects of the already horrific war. In addition to that he kills his wife who has murdered their three children. Whereas Chuck is Andrews’ therapist.
Over the course of time Teddy begins to feel sick, which is accompanied by migraines and flashbacks from war and dreams of his deceased wife and kids. Andrew appears to have a fight between his conscious state, “Teddy”, and his unconscious state, “Andrew.” He is aware that his wife Dolores killed their children and that he murdered her out of rage. However, his defence mechanism drags him back to his self-made reality. In this way Shutter Island can be seen as the perfect case of Freud’s theory of psychosis.
In the movie, Teddy also represents a person with a super ego personality who tries to act with a good set of morals in every situation. From the moment he enters Shutter Island his sole motive is to find Rachel. Even though he keeps finding less evidence, he tries harder to solve the mystery of the missing person. This allows him to keep making up new reasons to live as Teddy Daniels, and not confront his truth.
At the end of the movie when we see Teddy come to his senses he remains in his alter reality, not being able to live with himself as a murderer. This is a clear case where his superego is still in effect.
Shutter Island is a perfect movie for you to watch if you tilt towards the psychological thriller genre.