Joy Fleishhacker -- School Library Journal, 02/03/2010Shutter Island
Based on the critically acclaimed novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane (HarperCollins, 2003), this psychological thriller from Paramount Pictures arrives in theaters on February 19, 2010. Directed by Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island (R) is set in 1954 and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels, a U.S. marshal who is sent to investigate the disappearance of a patient at an institution for the criminally insane. Arriving at Ashecliffe Hospital on a small island off the Boston coast, Teddy and partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), are immediately faced with a series of mysteries. As one seeming impossibility piles upon another, Teddy begins to believe that the staff, including chief physician Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), is deceiving him and that the hospital is involved with implementing radical treatments that are unethical and terrifying. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, the danger becomes more palpable and the revelations more disturbingly horrifying. A web of secrets begins to unravel… secrets involving not only occurrences at Ashecliffe Hospital but also the surprising details of Teddy’s past. The cast also includes Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, and Max von Sydow. Teens can catch an edge-of-your-seat preview at the movie’s official Web site.
Harper Perennial has reissued Lehane’s novel, a New York Times bestseller, with a movie tie-in cover. A close-up of DiCaprio as the main character, his face lit by a flaring match and brow tensely furrowed, is paired with an eerie-looking image of the Shutter Island facility. Lehane flawlessly combines relentless suspense with the well-drawn time and place details of a period piece and a complex and breathlessly compelling plot. As events unfold, Teddy’s character is further developed through flashbacks of his World War II service, scenes shared with his now-deceased wife, and a series of violent and confusing dreams, creating a multilayered persona. As the gripping plot hurtles forward, details whirl intriguingly like the shapes and colors in a kaleidoscope and reality becomes more and more elusive. Readers will be hooked until the novel reaches its shocking—and absolutely satisfying—climax. This book is a must-read for mature teens (it’s ripe with graphic language, gritty themes, and disturbing images) who enjoyed the movie as well as devotees of crime novels and the horror genre. An unabridged CD audio version is also available from HarperAudio.
Lehane’s superlative thriller has recently been adapted into a riveting graphic novel by comic book artist Christian De Metter. Published by Tokyopop and William Morrow, Shutter Island Graphic Novel (2010) blends succinct dialogue with evocative visual images and perfectly timed narrative pacing to capture each of the story’s ominous beats. The artwork’s sepia tones echo the tale’s rain-drenched setting and mid-20th-century time period while adding film noire flair. Scenes depicting flashbacks and dreams are presented in warmer hues. Cloaked in a combination of shadow and pure light, the characters’ faces are revealing, emotion-filled, and often haunting. The adaptation does an excellent job of conveying the complexities and atmosphere of the plot in a streamlined format, leaving much of the storytelling to the visuals while propelling the action forward at heart-dropping rollercoaster speed. Movie fans and graphic novel devotees will gladly jump aboard for the ride.
Legion (R), a feature film from Screen Gems directed by Scott Stewart, recently opened in theaters. In this supernatural thriller, God has lost faith in mankind and is sending His legion of angels to bring on the apocalypse and end the existence of the world’s population. Meanwhile, a small group of strangers trapped in a remote diner deep in the desert is tasked with protecting a young woman and her unborn baby (the only hope for the human race) with the help of only one ally, the archangel Michael (Paul Bettany). The cast also includes Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Charles S. Dutton, and Lucas Black. Teens can swoop onto the movie’s official Web site for a glimpse at the winged and weapons-toting angels and a sample of the explosive action. Downloads and an online movie game are also available.
Movie fans interested in exploring this universe further will be delighted by IDW’s Legion: Prophets, a four-issue mini-series that ran in November 2009, and has now been published in graphic novel format. Dubbed “The Official Movie Prelude,” the series was plotted by Scott Stewart (the motion picture’s director), scripted by Tom Waltz, and illustrated by various artists. Film fans will be drawn in by the movie tie-in cover, showing the tough-looking archangel Michael (Bettany) with wings unfurled and weapons at the ready. The chapters focus on ordinary individuals—an Israeli research student and a Palestinian would-be terrorist, a “modern day Geisha” (aka, high-class hooker), a Midwestern housewife with a penchant for puzzles, and a radio talk show host who mourns the loss of his wife. As the people around them transform into mindless zombies determined to destroy them, these characters discover that they possess special abilities. They each travel to the Mojave Desert where they join together, determined to save the world. The various tales are neatly interconnected by the narration of one of the “Prophets,” Alan “The Voice” McCormick. Interspersed throughout are scenes set in “Dark World” depicting encounters between the angels as they prepare to unleash “the Dogs of Heaven.” Bloody battle action—as well as quieter moments—are colorfully depicted in the vibrantly hued artwork. This punch-packing extension of the movie’s plot can be enjoyed before or after seeing the film.
LEHANE, Dennis. Shutter Island. Media tie-in ed. Harper Perennial. 2009. Tr pap. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-06-180740-4; mass market pap. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-06-170325-6.
_____. Shutter Island. Media tie-in ed. HarperAudio. CD. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-06-190628-2.
_____. Shutter Island Graphic Novel. adapt. and illus. by Christian De Metter. Tokyopop/William Morrow/HarperCollins. 2010. Tr pap. $21.99. ISBN 978-0-06-196857-0.
STEWART, Scott and Tom Waltz. Legion: Prophets. illus. by Alberto Muriel, Jose Holder, Francisco Paronzini, and Michael Gaydos. IDW Publishing, dist. by Diamond Book Distributors. 2009. Tr pap. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-60010-636-1.