The film Shutter Island is thrilling yet perplexing by itself due to the events that occur. The movie begins with two deputy marshals, Edward Daniels (Teddy) and Chuck Aule, visiting Ashecliffe Hospital for the mentally ill on Shutter Island. The facility is the only one in the US dealing with patients with the most critical mental illnesses. The newly met partners have gone to the facility to investigate the disappearance of a patient, Rachel Solando. Rachel had been confined in the facility for killing her three children. The staff at the facility, including the lead psychiatrist Dr. John Cawley, are not very collaborative in the investigations. The marshals are informed of the absence of her supervisor, Dr. Lester Sheehan. The two marshals can only find a note stating, “The law of 4; who is 67?” Without any other information helping their investigation, they have to leave, but a storm prevents them.

The two marshals continue their investigations. With the help of the facility security, they search the Island. They are informed of Ward C, which is out of bounds since it is where the most disturbed patients are kept. They are also told of the lighthouse, which the security guards have already searched. Teddy is not content with the outcome of the search and demands to talk to the patients in the same group as Solando. While talking to the patients, he realizes that they all give the same answers. One of the patients writes a sign informing him to run on his notepad. All throughout, Teddy has had visions of himself in war and all of the people he saw dead at that time. He also has nightmares of his wife dying in a fire in their apartment caused by Andrew Laeddis. Andrew explains to Chuck the main reason he took the case of Solando. He wants to expose the illegal activities carried out in the facility. 

Later, Solando reappears from nowhere with no explanation of where she previously was. Teddy and Chuck sneak into Lab C, where Teddy meets George Noyce. Teddy intends to find Laeddis. Noyce tells Teddy of the laboratory experiments being carried out by the lighthouse. Noyce warns Teddy of everyone playing a game on him, and no one is on his side. Teddy makes it his objective to find out what is happening in the lighthouse. He wants nothing involved with his partner. After realizing he can’t reach the lighthouse, he comes back to find his friend had fallen down the cliff. As he climbs down the cliff, he discovers the body of Chuck is an illusion. He meets Solando in a cave and explains how the visions and migraines are induced by the medication he has unknowingly taken. Solando informs him about Cawley’s experimentation on psychotropic medication intending to control the human mind.  

When Teddy returns to the facility, he finds no traces of Chuck. He knows the lighthouse is where Chuck has been taken. At the lighthouse, he finds Cawley waiting for him. Cawley explains that Teddy is Andrew Laeddis, and he is patient 67. He explains that he is there due to the murder of his wife Dolores Chanal, who had murdered their three kids. Cawley explains that Edward Daniels and Regina Solando are anagrams to Andrew Laeddis and Dolores Chanal. His partner Chuck turns out to be his supervisor Lester Sheehan. Chuck and Cawley convince Teddy that he assumes the story he has created in his mind and that it is not the first time he has been in the facility. He is told that the migraines and visions are a result of withdrawal from his medication.

Teddy gets overwhelmed by the thoughts of his wife drowning their kids and him killing her and fainting. He wakes up under the watch of Cawley, Sheehan, and the nurse who played Solando. He admits that he is Laeddis and Solando is his wife. Cawley threatens to lobotomize him if he relapses. Later, Andrew talks to Sheehan and tells him they must leave the Island. Sheehan signs to Cawley of lack of improvement, and Andrew is taken to be lobotomized.


Scorsese, M & Robbertson, R. (2010). Shutter Island [Motion Picture]. The United States. Phoenix Pictures, Sikelia Productions, Appian Way Productions.

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