Shutter Island – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review

shutter_island_4k_steelbook– Commissions Earned –

Film Title: Shutter Island
Release Date: 2010
Rating: R
Runtime: 138 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Studio: Paramount
Audio Format: DTS-HD MA 5.1
High Dynamic Range: HDR10 & Dolby Vision
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray SteelBook
Release Date: 2/11/20
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprioMark Ruffalo, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, John Carroll Lynch

Jump to Sections:
Movie | Video | Audio | Bonus | Closing | Screenshots
Full 4K Tech Specs found at the bottom

shutter_island_4k_1click to view a 4K Screenshot

The Movie

“Shutter Island” was a 2010 film directed and produced by Martin Scorsese. For those who don’t know, Scorsese is best known for directing films such as “Taxi Driver” (1976), “Raging Bull” (1980), “The King of Comedy” (1982), “Goodfellas” (1990), “Cape Fear” (1991), and “Casino” (1995). Every single one of those films I just mentioned, as examples, are not only some of his most popular works but they all starred one same lead actor.

Now, in the early 2000s, Scorsese started to do films with other actors than with Robert De Niro, as before, namely with “Gangs of New York” (2002), then came “The Aviator” (2004), “The Departed” (2006), this film, and finally “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013). So, Leonardo DiCaprio became the leading man in a series of Academy Award-winning and nominated films. The rest is history, except for the fact that this film was snubbed by the Oscars (Academy Awards), and is pretty underrated but still has its following, but more on that later.

This story takes place during the time period of 1954 in the United States, post-World War II. The whole circumstance of why things are happening is because a patient (specifically a woman) named Rachel has gone missing from a very secure mental health facility on an island, Shutter Island, hence the film’s title. It also has a couple of other meanings but it is safe to save that bit of specifics of trivia to find on IMDb after you’ve seen the film at least once.

The protagonist here is a U.S. Marshall, “Teddy Daniels” (Leonardo DiCaprio) that is haunted by his past and in turn is dealing with a lot of flashbacks, having trouble finding what to believe to be true. We learn in the first half of the film that he served in World War II, seemingly where he saw some horrible things like concentration camps. We also learn that his wife “Delores” (Michelle Williams) passed away in a fire after he returned home from the war. He’s joined by a partner, another U.S. Marshall “Chuck Aule” (Mark Ruffalo), that he has strangely enough never met before, to help him find the missing mental patient.

Eventually, once the boat that brought them to the island comes to port, they make their way onto Shutter Island and they meet the second man in charge of security, “Deputy Warden McPherson” (John Carroll Lynch), who escorts them along to the mental facility to meet the second to head doctor in charge, “Dr. Cawley” (Ben Kingsley). There they are given a bit more details on the situation and then sent to go about questioning patients and staff about the missing patient. Teddy will eventually meet the head doctor in charge, “Dr. Naehring” (Max von Sydow), as well as even have a brief encounter with the Warden, among others, and will eventually start to make sense of things.

This film is a very weird mystery, and it almost feels slightly similar to some other films we’ve seen over the years but is also very distinctly unique in its own way. The performances given here by DiCaprio and the supporting cast are very impressive and it’s a film you’ll want to at least see once in your life.

Movie Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

shutter_island_4k_2click to view a 4K Screenshot

Video Quality

This comes to 4K UHD Blu-ray presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, just as it was shown during its theatrical run. In its 4K UHD Blu-ray debut, “Shutter Island” receives both HDR10 and Dolby Vision forms of High Dynamic Range.

This movie was shot on 35MM, Super 35MM, and 65MM film using the Arri 765, Arriflex D-21, Panavision Panaflex Millennium, and Panavision Panaflex System 65 Studio cameras. It even involved cinematography processes like Panavision Super 70 and Super 35 (as mentioned). The film then received a 2K digital intermediate (DI) master, all according to IMDb. So, that all being said, there’s a slight variation of source material and the types of cameras used all make for a bit of an interesting blend visually when presented here in 4K with HDR. Still, it’s not exactly perfect, but it looks very impressive and serves as one nice improvement over the previously released (2010) Blu-ray.

In terms of assessing the video quality here in 4K with the addition of HDR, this has a rather solid black level, there’s a slight amount of film grain present (in some shots more than others, considering the source material varieties). The color palette can be pretty subdued to fit the visual style but it does occasionally have some bright vibrant scenes in the daytime where the trees and other foliage make for some nice greens. There’s a really nice, even at times downright impressive, amount of detail to be found here in some of the facial closeup shots (as seen in some screenshots below). This seems to be doing a pretty decent job of using a BD-66 (66-gigabyte capacity disc) with the film getting to use a total of 56.9 gigabytes. Overall, this really serves as a nice upgrade from the previous 1080p HD presentation found on Blu-ray from a decade ago and is enough of an improvement for me to give it a 4.5 rating for video quality in 4K with HDR.

Video Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

shutter_island_4k_3click to view a 4K Screenshot

Audio Quality

Audio here, for “Shutter Island” on 4K UHD Blu-ray, is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with a DTS 5.1 core, for those without the proper equipment to decode the HD Master Audio mix. This is the very same mix that was found on the original 2010 Blu-ray.

Dialogue is delivered spot-on from the very start-up until the very end, never once being overpowered by the action or the musical Score. Speaking of that musical score, Martin Scorsese [in the extras discusses that he] had his friend Robbie Robertson (from “The Band”) work as the music supervisor, and they actually used existing pieces of music throughout the film. These all work blended together and it translates over very nice to this lossless 5.1 surround.

The rain around 30 minutes really makes great use of the rear channels and the rest of the speakers to feel as if it is surrounding you. That rainstorm turns a bit more violent and really helps to push this a little over-the-top and delivers a decent amount of bass, via the subwoofer, during most of that action. There are a lot of psychologically driven sounds here throughout the mix in terms of sound effects, the variety of existing music, and whatnot, to make for one bit of an impressive lossless 5.1 surround sound mix – be it a decade old or not. That much being said, I still have to say this mix is worthy of a respectable 4.5 rating for audio quality.

Audio Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

shutter_island_4k_4click to view a 4K Screenshot

Bonus Materials

Bonus materials physically included on this release include:

  • A Blu-ray Disc of the film is included. It features a DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound mix and all of the bonus materials – on the physical release – listed below.

The Blu-ray Disc is where the bonus materials are found, which are ALL presented in HD video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. These include the following:

  • “Behind The Shutters” (17:10 – HD) warns you beforehand that it contains “spoilers” which to me, as a reviewer and consumer that understands how bonus materials work, seems a bit redundant to mention? You should, in my opinion, and most anyone’s, always wait until after you have viewed a film to watch the extras. Well, I now sort of am getting the whole mention of a “spoiler” was there now as I had to slightly reword some things below. This featurette includes loads of discussion of the novel that served as inspiration, behind-the-scenes footage on set as well as some interviews with Martin Scorsese (director/producer), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Teddy Daniels”), Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Dennis Lehane (author/executive producer), Michelle Williams (“Delores”), Mark Ruffalo (“Chuck Aule”), and Ben Kingsley (“Dr. Cawley”).
  • “Into the Lighthouse” (21:11 – HD) again, warns you beforehand about containing “spoilers” and as a result of that some things here have been altered in my description of the featurette. This glimpse, even further behind-the-scenes trying to make sense of the story itself, includes interviews with cast & crew members (noted) like Emily Mortimer, Martin Scorsese, Dr. James Gilligan (psychiatric consultant), Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Dante Ferretti (production designer), Ben Kingsley, and Dennis Lehane (author/executive producer).

The extras here on this 10th Anniversary SteelBook 4K UHD Blu-ray release of Martin Scorsese‘s “Shutter Island” on 4K UHD Blu-ray, in its debut, are the exact same extras we got back ten years ago – ironically – when the film was originally released and then later on the Blu-ray format. So, essentially here you get the very same two special features (featurettes) as before, totaling up to roughly 38 minutes, which are both very worthwhile and informative.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m in no way upset by that but this being an anniversary and all for the 10th year you’d maybe expect it to have received some form of new extras, right? Well, that’s not at all the case here. You do not even get a digital copy of the film this time around, which seems weird. That being said, you do however get a very beautiful collectible limited edition SteelBook (physical) packaging that the film is housed in. So, there’s that, at least, for some form of bonus here.

Bonus Materials Rating: 2.25 (out of 5)

shutter_island_4k_5click to view a 4K Screenshot

Closing Thoughts

“Shutter Island” was a great film and one of the numerous collaborations between director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The film’s psychological thriller part of it might have been why it seems to have been snubbed by the Academy Awards that year (2010), as it also even received mixed reviews from the critics back then during its theatrical run. However, underrated as it may be, for what it’s worth, the film found its place on home video. In fact, it now carries, at the time of writing, a respectable 8.1 (out of 10) rating on IMDb. There are some pretty great performances here, aside from just that of DiCaprio in the lead role, from the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, and Max von Sydow.

Now, on its 4K UHD Blu-ray debut, Shutter Island comes with an impressive 4K visual presentation that gets both HDR10 and Dolby Vision forms of HDR – for those capable of the latter. In terms of audio, they’ve just used the very same lossless (DTS-HD MA) 5.1 mix that was found on the 2010 Blu-ray of the film. So, it gets no improvement or even changes in terms of audio here on this new home video release of the film. Perhaps the film’s director (Scorsese) didn’t feel that it needed to have an object-based mix like Atmos or DTS:X with height speakers. I can’t, in all honesty, see why this type of film wouldn’t have benefitted in some way if it had received a new Atmos or DTS:X mix. Still, the 5.1 manages to continue to get the job done and serves to impress at times, if you haven’t heard it in a while especially.

The weakest part here, sadly as there usually is one with all releases, has the be the fact that you get the very same extras (bonus materials) that were found on the original 2010 Blu-ray release of the film. Those two featurettes, as informative, entertaining, and even somewhat lengthy (roughly 38 minutes) as they may be, just don’t seem like what fans would expect from a 10th Anniversary Edition. However, the classy touch to this release is that physically it is housed in a SteelBook that has some beautiful artwork. That’s enough for me to say that I classify this 4K UHD Blu-ray release as Recommended, especially as an upgrade in terms of video quality in comparison to the original Blu-ray.

In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.5 (out of 5) for video quality
4.5 (out of 5) for audio quality
2.25 (out of 5) for bonus materials

Overall Verdict:

Available As:

2020 4K UHD Blu-ray SteelBook Release

4K UHD Blu-ray Screenshots:



4K UHD Blu-ray Technical Specifications:

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Exact Runtime: 2:18:04
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (with a DTS 5.1 core), Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.0
Languages: English, Czech, Spanish, French, Japanese, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Thai, Turkish,
Subtitles: English, Arabic, Malay, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Greek, Spanish, French, Hindi, Icelandic, Japanese, Korean, Hungarian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Romany, Slovak, Finnish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Disc Size: BD-66
Disc Use: 58.80GB total / 56.9GB for film