Ben Kingsley Finds Surprising Tenderness Amid Shutter Island's Terrors
Posted 02.05.10 by reelz
At a group press conference promoting Shutter Island, Ben Kingsley noted something unexpected emerged during the making of the movie — affection.
It's not the sort of description you would expect based on the movie's trailer, or even more from the Superbowl spot. In those previews, the nightmarish suspense surrounding a woman's disappearance from a, frankly gothic, asylum overwhelms everything else. But, Kingsley insists, there is more here than meets the eye.
And what you perhaps don't see on the page, and even when we were reading it together in the hotel room, Leo [DiCaprio] and I and Mark [Ruffalo], what did emerge was an extraordinary level of tenderness between the characters that actually even though it's — as Leo pointed out — it looks, if you see the trailer, like a thriller — the glue that holds it together is varying levels of tenderness, uh, for your wife, for your child, for your patient, for your friend. Uh, and that is an ingredient that you can't rehearse, you can't anticipate, is always surprising, and can only be brought to film by the director. So our great journey was making something out of nothing, and on the way discovering, tenderness.
Director Martin Scorsese concurs, suggesting that this is the case even for the doctors, who don't exactly come off that way in the trailer, to say the least.
I guess — I think one of the key elements here is that if you care about the person, and I think what Sir Ben said is really right in the sense that one of the things that I was so surprised about to discover ultimately — I knew it but I couldn't, I couldn't, I couldn't verbalize it — is the love or the caring, the tenderness that he has for the patients. And they all do. And the relationship between the patient and the doctor. And at times stern, at times you don't know what he's thinking, where he's going — why he's saying certain things, why he's behaving a certain way. Is he really telling the truth or not. You don't know. But ultimately underlying all of this is this very strong relationship of believing in this therapy…
None of this is, of course, to deny that the movie is in fact the thriller it has been billed as. There is clearly a hidden, and likely malign, agenda at work on the island that is driving investigators into some pretty strange territory on the border of drug-induced madness. But, taking Kingsley at his word, there is something else to look for in it as well.