We’re getting into those dark, drudging days of winter when all you want to do is hole up with a blanket with a warm drink and wait for spring. If humans were really as smart as we’re supposed to be, we would have initiated mandatory winter hibernation like the bears. But since we’re stuck trudging through snow and dealing with our sallow skin tone, we might as well take the opportunity to hibernate in a movie theater for a few hours a week, at least. This week brings a trio of dark thrillers with “Shutter Island,” “The Ghost Writer,” and “Red Riding Trilogy.”
The Movie: “Shutter Island”
The Trailer: Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, “Shutter Island” is set in 1954, at a prison asylum for the most dangerous and criminal of crazies located on a terribly eerie rocky island fortress off the New England coast. Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a U.S. marshal sent to investigate the disappearance of one of the 66 inmates — Rachel Soldano, who drowned her three kids. In his investigation, Daniels finds there’s a lot more going on than the hospital’s director (Ben Kingsley) is letting on and Teddy’s partner (Mark Ruffalo) isn’t helping to keep Teddy from going nuts in between increasingly scary findings and WWII flashbacks of his own.
The Hitch: One of the most epic filmmakers, Martin Scorsese, has taken on Lehane’s puzzle of a novel and from the trailer, it looks fantastic—despite DiCaprio’s questionable Boston accent. The movie has gotten favorable reviews so far and, if nothing else, will definitely be a thrilling journey … and by that I mean I’m going to shriek a bunch and get really uncomfortable at how intense this movie is.
The Movie: “The Ghost Writer”
The Trailer: A reputable author (Ewan McGregor) is brought on to write the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). The “ghost” is never given a name and finds that he’s actually a replacement writer after the former mysteriously drowned/commited suicide/was murdered, maybe. Lang’s protective secretary (Kim Cattrall) and a Harvard professor (Tom Wilkinson) provide the crew of shady characters.
The Hitch: Based on a book by Robert Harris (who as a journalist was once close to former Prime Minister Tony Blair … dun dun dun), this is also Roman Polanski‘s first feature in four years. Though it’s meant to take place on Martha’s Vineyard, it was actually filmed in Germany due to the filmmaker’s house arrest. It involves a lot of rain, so if you’re down to see a very wet Ewan McGregor, this will be your cup of tea.
The Movie: “Red Riding Trilogy”
The Trailer: The “Red Riding Trilogy” is based on David Peace’s crime novels, which were based on serial killings in England between 1974 and 1983. Three different directors with three different visions took on the years 1974, 1980, and 1983, when new teams were taken on to solve the case. Originally made for British TV, the three episodes were recently shown in New York and Santa Barbara and are now available on cable on demand.
The Hitch: The awesome thing about miniseries is that because they’re meant to stand alone and as part of a larger whole, they usually keep up the pace better than movies. And if it sucks, you can just watch one! But with a slew of brilliant (and kinda sexy, in the case of “1974″) British actors and a plot dense with political corruption and serial killer insanity, it looks like this one will be able to hold its own.