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"Someone is missing."

U.S. Marshal Edward Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule investigate the disappearance of a patient at a secluded island mental institution for the criminally insane in 1954. The missing patient is a woman named Rachel Solando who drowned her children. A terrible storm traps the marshals on the island and they find that the staff is uncooperative in helping with their investigation.

Rather than give up, Daniels is fueled in his investigation by strange dreams of his late wife Dolores, who was killed in an arsonist's fire. Dolores informs Daniels that he will find both Solando and the arsonist, Laeddis. Daniels tells his partner that he took the case in order to locate Laeddis. Before they can investigate any further they learn that Solando has reappeared as mysteriously as she disappeared. Without any explanations from the staff, Daniels steals into forbidden Ward C looking for answers. There he meets inmate Noyce who tells him that patients sent to the lighthouse are lobotomized and that everyone on the island is involved in a conspiracy against Daniels.

Daniels and Aule go to the lighthouse but are separated and Daniels finds a woman hiding in a cave who tells him that she is the real Solando and has another conspiracy theory about the island. Daniels returns to the hospital without Aule and asks after him, but is told by Cawley that Daniels arrived at the hospital completely alone. Returning to the lighthouse, sure he will find his partner, he instead finds Cawley.

The doctor reveals that Daniels is himself Laeddis and that he's a patient here because he murdered his wife after she drowned their three children. The events of the last few days were actually part of an elaborate treatment plan meant to draw him out of his insanity so that he can accept the horrible crime he's committed. As memories return to him he faints and wakes again in the hospital.

Cawley and Aule, revealed to be a doctor Sheehan, question him about the death of his wife and, when he is able to answer, they see this as a breakthrough. He has made progress before but regressed and Cawley tells him this is his last chance. Later, Laeddis apparently regresses when he refers to Sheehan as "Chuck." As he is taken away he says something to Sheehan that leaves the question of his sanity ambiguous and the possibility open that his fate was his own choice in the end.

R
| 2010 | 2 hr 28 min | 8.1/10
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Director
Martin Scorsese
Language
English
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Shutter Island
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