Shutter Island

Today, I watched the movie Shutter Island starring Di Caprio by Martin Scorcese. The movie was extremely good. But, I don’t intend to write a review of it.

But, I must say, the movie was very disturbing and makes you reevaluate how much you trust yourself. The kind of tricks that the mind can play on itself and the helplessness of people who suffer from mental disorders is shocking to say the least. The work that Psychiatrists and Psychologists do in trying to understand the workings of the human mind in order to use the knowledge to help the people who most suffer is one that is rarely appreciated. Infact, after watching the movie, I feel that there are few conditions that are worse than when one’s mind is compromised.

The movie also makes one wonder how we can tell if we ourselves go crazy. How can we tell whether what we are seeing is real and not a hallucination. There are people who have succeeded in doing exactly that. It takes a great amount of wisdom and intelligence to figure out that you are crazy. What an oxymoron?

The movie brings into picture the problems that people face in married lives as well. In our modern social setup with little people to people interaction and weak family ties, the minds of people are put under great pressure. Man evolved as a social animal and when you take that society away the results tend to be unpredictable. The greatest pressure is on the women as they tend to be forced to stay at home all alone doing the household chores and bothering about little else. What if they feel like talking to someone? What if you find that your spouse is not available to listen to your problems? What if he/she becomes depressed or psychotic? Do you shut the other person off or would you put aside your rather unimportant livelihood to give an ear to your mad partner? These are some questions that people should be thinking about…

Another very interesting thing that the movie explains is people’s psychological defense mechanisms. I had written about one, Rationality, a while ago. The way that we try to explain the world around us and try to make things fit is one that deserves the most intense study. The way the human brain deals with reality has got less to do with reality itself than with pain alleviation. The propensity of people to believe in various religions and other assorted lies and the comfort they find in them is because of this. This phenomenon is depicted with devastating effect in the movie.

Sometime I wonder whether everyone is able to handle things the way they are. What happens when the reality is too shocking and immense for a single individual to cope with. What should you expect of such a person? This question is beautifully summed up in a single line in the movie….

… Which would be better? To live as a monster or die as a good man.

Shutter Island

Here dying means to loose one’s grip on reality.


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