Essay about Shutter Island versus The Shining

Essay about Shutter Island versus The Shining

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Rene Descartes was a philosopher who introduced a popular philosophical method called Radical Doubt in his book Meditations on First Philosophy. Descartes “proposed discarding any kind of belief that could be doubted, [because it] might be false”. In both Shutter Island directed by Martin Scorsese and The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick, the viewers are introduced to characters that doubt the very existence of reality, much like Descartes, and who are drowned in the depths of insanity. Fear, paranoia, and doubt are the main ingredients that make both movies a psychological mind maze that constantly teases the brain in every turn. Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick are both masters in cinema direction and are not regulars in the horror genre. Nonetheless, both have created a product that makes viewers question what it's like to be sane. The goal of this essay is to demonstrate the similarities and differences between Shutter Island and The Shining based on their themes of insanity, isolation, and alcoholism.
The story of Shutter Island revolves around Marshall Teddy Daniels, and his partner Chuck Aule, and their journey to a remote and barren island to investigate the mysterious disappearance of an inmate from the mental asylum. The island is home to a fortress-like mental institution, Ashcliffe Hospital, which houses 66 of the most dangerous criminals in the country. From the very beginning, Martin Scorsese introduces the viewers to the theme of isolation. In the opening scene, Scorsese uses the boat ride as a sign that illustrates how the island is being distanced from reality. The viewers are never introduced on unfiltered view of "the real world" outside of the asylum. The only available information about reality beyond t...


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...els finds himself trapped in the island due to a hurricane much like how Jack finds himself trapped in the hotel due to a blizzard. Both Shutter Island and The Shining revolve around protagonists that are unreliable. The viewers are introduced to the "heroes” and then to their slow decent into madness. Isolation and insanity are prominent in every scene of both movies, which turned normal and loving fathers into insane and psychotic killers that led both of them to their end.



Works Cited

http://www.swif.uniba.it/lei/foldop/foldoc.cgi?Cartesian+doubt
http://faculty.ccri.edu/paleclerc/intro/desc_method.shtml
http://movies.ign.com/articles/107/1070199p1.html
http://www.theauteurs.com/films/3506
http://metaphilm.com/index.php/detail/the_shining/
http://www.houseofhorrors.com/shining.htm
http://blog.cinemaautopsy.com/2010/02/16/film-review-shutter-island-2010/

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