Trailer two for Shutter Island in pin sharp HD has hit the net. Leonardo DiCaprio and co revisit 1950s fashions under the discerning eye of director Martin Scorsese.
Based on Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel of the same name and retaining its 1950s timeframe, Shutter Island follows two federal marshals, Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), as they investigate the disappearance of a mental patient from a creepy island facility in Massachusetts.
Shutter Island promises to be a serious costume movie. Not just because of the enticing fifties setting, but also because Scorsese is someone who understands the important role clothes play in definition of character.
The Age of Innocence (1993, costumes by Gabriella Pescucci) is probably his finest example of this. In which protagonist Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is practically suffocated by his stiff collared 19th century attire, stifling his emotions to the point of repression.
For Scorsese’s last three films, London born Sandy Powell has been go-to costume designer. An Oscar winner for his 2004 Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator and John Madden’s breakout Brit hit Shakespeare in Love (1998), Powell clearly knows her stuff.
In Shutter Island, hints at fifties fashions for the gentleman, as it is primarily men who feature in this footage, are subtle yet recognisable: high box jackets, raglan sleeve slip-on coats for DiCaprio and Ruffalo, fedoras, even gaudy hand-painted ‘island print’ neckties (America’s contribution to accessories immediately after WW2).
For women we do get another glimpse of Michelle Williams as Teddy Daniels’ wife Dolores Chanal. She is wearing the same flowery yellow day dress with cap sleeves from trailer one. Though it is not entirely clear in what dimension this image exists, she could be a figment of Daniels’ imagination or a reoccurring dream.
The idea, it would seem, is to entrench characterisation though costume; the disintegration of Daniels’ mental state, his blurring between hallucination and reality, providing the crux of the story.
Shutter Island is now to be released in February 2010, pushed back from 2nd October of this year, so we will just have to sit patiently. This film though could be a textbook lesson in identity through costume, and hopefully a damn fine night out to boot.
© 2009 – 2012, Christopher Laverty.