Shutter Island - Opening 10minute Analysis

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Shutter Island Opening scene analysis with Screenshots

Camera shot and SoundThe opening scene begins with a wide shot of a boat appearing through the mist. It creates a sense of mystery as all we see is nothing but thick fog, and then a boat appearing. This peculiar start to the film is intriguing and creates a feeling of anxiety and uncertainty, and creates disorientation for the audience as they are not immediately given a sense of location. This makes the audience want to see what happens next and grabs their attention.Also, deep, low orchestral music is used to increase the tension of what might happen next and creates an unsettling mood for the audience. The dramatic music makes the audience associate people and places as to whether they are good or bad by the tone/key of the music. As well as being able to change the audience's mood.

Camera Shot and Mise En SceneThe next shot is an over the shoulder shot where the camera has been deliberately positioned to reveal the character, Teddys, reflection. This shot could infer that the character has connotations of a split personality as the audience can see him and his reflection. This makes the audience feel uneasy as the character is now made to be untrustworthy, even though he is a Marshall who the audience should be able to trust. Also the use of a mirror is a key/stereotypical prop within a Thriller film.

SilenceThe use of silence before Teddys flashback and when he is inside the mental home for insane criminals and makes eye contact with the old lady with a slash mark on her throat, creates a sense of unease for the audience as it heightens their senses as they dont understand why these moments in particular have been highlighted. It prepares them to listen and pay particular attention to whatever is about to happen next.

Flashback Duration of 11seconds (-1 second for present day water clip ~ 10 seconds)Dramatic music and fast paced editingThese screenshots are from Teddys flashbacks to when his wife was alive. There is no diegetic sound to the clips involving his wife, other than the clip of the water back in the present day with Teddy. The non diegetic dramatic music throughout the clip is of low key, suggesting that what appears to be happy memories, are not. Making the audience feel on edge, as they are not sure what is happening or what might happen. Going back to the screenshot of the sea water in present day, makes the audience wonder if his wife actually died in a fire and was killed by the smoke, or if her death had something to do with water or drowning. This makes the audience start to not trust him, as they dont understand the significance of the water and why it has been highlighted during Teddys flashbacks of his wife. Also the fast paced editing to these clips suggest that Teddy doesnt want to reveal to much about his wife, creating a sense of mystery and weariness for the audience.

Mise En Scene and red- HerringThis screenshot is taken just after where Teddy has flashbacks to when his wife was alive. Just before Teddy comes back from his flashbacks, we see a glimpse of the sea water. This makes the audience wonder if his wife actually died in a fire and was killed by the smoke, or if her death had something to do with water or drowning. This makes the audience start to not trust him, as they dont understand the significance of the water and why it has been highlighted during Teddys flashbacks of his wife. Just after the flashbacks, Teddy also asks for a cigarette as he seems to have lost his. He lights the cigarette, but only moments beforehand he was talking about his wife supposedly dying from the smoke from the fire; this leads the audience to not trust him even more than they already do.

Camera shot and SoundWhen the island is finally revealed through a wide shot, the dramatic orchestral music starts; making the audience associate the island with corrupt and terrifying thoughts as the music is sudden and of a low keyAs they get closer to the island the music becomes more full and dramatic, increasing the level of tension and anxiety for the audience. The music becomes more and more intense as the audience travel with Teddy from the docks with the guards to the first gates of the Criminally Insane Hospital. The rising symphonic of the dramatic music as they approach the hospital makes the audience feel un easy and creates a false sense of danger as nothing actually happens, but the music infers otherwise.

Sound and Mise En SceneExaggerated sounds of chains/metalic sounds are emphasised from the very beginning on the boat, all the way through to the chains around the patients/prisoners feet and hands. This emphasises to the audience that chains are a key prop within the film and they connote being trapped/imprisoned. Which could make the audience weary and feel trapped.

Red Herring and Camera ShotA close up shot of the Hospital Cemetery sign has been used to clearly show the quote Remember us for we too have lived, loved and laughed. This makes the audience feel on edge for what Teddy is about to face inside the Hospital, as we know this sign is referring the past patients.

Mise En SceneWhen the Prison Officer talks about ward A and B, we see two ordinary looking buildings of a red brick colour. But when he talks about ward C, the audience see a longshot of huge, grey building that looms over the hospital campus. This infers to the audience that Ward C is a horrible dark place, as grey is the dominant colour and it makes them feel uncomfortable and nervous for the characters as they may venture into the building later on in the film.

Red-HerringThis screenshot is from when Teddy and Chuck arrive at Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane and Teddy catches this womens eye who acts suspicious and hand signals Teddy to be quite however we as the audience and Teddy himself dont know what she is talking about and leads us to think that this is a red herring. The camera angle in this shot is a mid shot but she is the focus point in the shot. This is engaging the audience into what she is saying to Teddy and makes us think that she is important in the story line.