The film Shutter Islands holds value for students of psychology, psychiatry and nursing for its portrayal of complex mental illness. The film should be evaluated separately on two counts – first, its entertainment value and second, its relevance to the medical profession. Obviously, the parameters used for the respective evaluations are different. In my view, the film is highly impressive in both these counts. But this essay will focus on the second aspect, and argue that the film is full of key insights into the pathology of delusion and the range of therapeutic approaches in dealing with it.
Firstly, director Scorsese intertwines war-induced mental trauma of Teddy Daniels with personal tragedy of Andrew Laeddis. This compounds the confusion for the audience, but also adds a political dimension to what is an exposition on psychiatric illness. Toward the end of the film it is unveiled how the whole of the Shutter Island is a set up to play along the illusions of Andrew . . . Read MoreContinue Reading