Review: Shutter Island (4K)

Shutter Island 4K Review

The implausible escape of a brilliant murderess brings U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner (Mark Ruffalo) to Ashecliffe Hospital, a fortress-like insane asylum located on a remote, windswept island. The woman appears to have vanished from a locked room, and there are hints of terrible deeds committed within the hospital walls. As the investigation deepens, Teddy realizes he will have to confront his own dark fears if he hopes to make it off the island alive.

Plot: In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.

Director: Martin Scorsese

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Runtime: 1138 min

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: It may not rank with Scorsese’s best work, but Shutter Island‘s gleefully unapologetic genre thrills represent the director at his most unrestrained.

Online Ratings:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes 68% (Audience 76%)
  2. IMDB 8.1
  3. Metacritic 63
  4. Cinemascore C+

“Scorsese suspense at the highest level.”


This movie was shot with Arriflex and Panavision cameras as a 2k master, that means you’ll get an upscaled 4k presentation on this disc. On top of that, as per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in both Dolby Vision & HDR10. This is the first time this film has been given the treatment in UHD and it’s nice that it comes in a Limited Collector’s Edition Steelbook.

Just a side note going in, this doesn’t come with a digital copy — be prepared for that.

There is no word if this movie has been remastered or not, so for know, let’s assume it wasn’t. Bearing that in mind, this disc is not a massive bump over the Blu-ray, but it is a solid one. You will notice more detail, color and clarity — with the biggest highlight for everything being HDR. The new work being done with the HDR adds depth and dimension that previously wasn’t there. Something else more noticeable, there’s a slight layer of grain (heavier in dark scenes) that the Blu-ray didn’t show. You could argue the Blu-ray is clearer, but I much rather this UHD with the added grain and HDR. It makes this movie (which looked great already) even more filmatic — it’s a small touch, but I really appreciate it.

Where will you notice some of the color upgrades? Right away in Chapter 2 with the introduction to the mental institution. The grass and flowers in the garden look more alive than ever. This movie doesn’t naturally POP! with color, so the few scenes under the sun that have the opportunity to take advantage, does just that. Moving away from color, the black levels are rock solid time and time again — the night and low light scenes look great. For example, in Chapter 4 you’ll see this while Doctor Naehring is sitting in chair by the fireplace — the shadow casted from the chair flows naturally right off the screen. More examples include; the concentration camp scene under the darkness of night in Chapter 9 and again, even more so, in Chapter 10 as they roam and run around Ward C. Wow! Lastly, in Chapter 11 Teddy and George Noyce have a conversation by match-light that really gets the HDR working — watch out for that.

Something else I noticed — a few scenes looked brighter than the Blu-ray counterpart. While the HDR added new depth and made the movie more filmatic, at the same time, the various concentration camp scenes that took place in the snow in Chapter 7 seemed to be brighter, even under darkness of the night. Finally, when it comes to sharpness, you will see more detail in the characters faces; pores, sweat, blemishes, cuts, etc. It doesn’t happen in every close-up, but you’ll notice it frequently in the right lighting. (Especially when you’re looking for it.)

If your looking for a quick recap: Shutter Island’s UHD release is a modest upgrade, nothing too flashy — it’s more filmatic and the HDR shines through as the biggest highlight.

In conclusion —

Shutter Island is one of Martin Scorsese best films, I would put it in his top three — I think this movie is super underrated. Opposite to that, I don’t think this is the type of movie that you can have too many repeat viewing of because you need to preserve the mastery of suspense. Once you know what’s going to unfold and that first initial HOLY S**T moment passes, every viewing after won’t bring any new angles, but new depth. I just watched this last night and trust me, it’s been years since I’ve seen it. Good news? It still holds up. You’ll notice things you didn’t see before, catch little flashes of facial expressions or gestures — that’s always fascinating to me on a rewatch.

Ultimately, Shutter Island gets my recommendation to own if you fit the criteria to warrant a double dip. If you don’t own this film yet, make sure you add this to your collection on day one! If you do own this on Blu-ray, you need to figure out if this modest ‘filmatic’ upgrade is worth the price. This is only available in the steelbook variant, so if the price and limited edition option doesn’t suit you now, it never will. Is this an awesome movie to you? Will you watch this multiple times in the future? If you think “yes” then it’s a safe bet.

Regardless of what you may decide, make sure you grab a copy at your local retailer when it releases on 4K & Blu-ray Tuesday, February 11th in celebration of the 10th anniversary. It also includes the previously released featurettes “Behind the Shutters” and “Into the Lighthouse” on the Blu-ray copy.

Did you catch Shutter Island when it released theater back in 2010? Were you a fan of this movie? Will you be picking it up to own in UHD? Let me know what you think in the comments below.



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