Shutter Island — The Guest Posts

This is the 200th post on Storyfix.  We launched June 1, 2009, and so far over 2000 of you have signed on for the ride.  You are the reason I do this.  Thanks for your vote of confidence.  Much more to come, too.

Last week I posted a call for Guest Posts in response to the recently completed Shutter Island series.  Those posts are in the recent Archive, and if you’re new here, I think you’ll find this a worthwhile investment of your time.

I’m almost sorry I positioned this as a “contest,” because I was both impressed and appreciative of all the submissions.  But one did stand out,  simply because the enthusiasm of it spoke to me, and cuts to the heart of why we should deconstruct stories in the first place.

You’ll find it below.

In addition to this “winning” entry, I’m publishing all of the submissions as separate Comments at the end of this post.  Sharing the experience with fellow writers is valuable and fun, so I encourage you to read them and, if there is one, visit the websites owned by these writers.

If you’d like to add your own “post” as an additional Comment, we’d all love to hear what you think.

Submitted by Amy Henry,

Story was my first love.  But, like many writers out there–you know, the kind that like to eat and pay the bills–I’d set aside my fiction, turning instead to the non-fiction market.  Larry’s deconstruction of Shutter Island, however, reawakened my story lust.  I threw peanut butter sandwiches at my kids while tearing through the book in one afternoon.  I then gave it to my teenage daughter, then to my teenage son, then to another boy at church, all because I wanted someone to not only talk to me about it, but because I wanted to witness their confounded reactions to the final twist and to share in their ‘Shazam!’ moment. 

It worked.  My daughter neglected her Saturday chores and didn’t hear when I called her for dinner.  Later, she was reading the final pages while I sat staring at her, waiting for it.  And then, yes, there it was, that Beautiful Moment of discovery, when she realized all was not as it appeared.  Her eyes went back and forth faster and faster.  I could see the gears turning, her mind rolling back over this piece of foreshadowing or that subtle hint of an ending that, as it turned out, wasn’t all that subtle.  She slammed the book down, her cheeks flushed.

“I can’t believe it!”

“I know,” I said.

“All along he was…?”


“And the whole story led us to believe…?”


“And then…?”

Yes, yes, yes.  And that, I said to my dear daughter, is the power of story.  To make you slam the book down with a ‘No way!’  To keep you so fascinated that you can’t break away to feed the kids or do your chores.  To mesmerize.  To transport.  To transcend. 

Shutter Island makes me itch to write something, and it isn’t an article or a blog post.


Filed under Shutter Island Deconstruction

16 Responses to Shutter Island — The Guest Posts

  1. Submitted by Bruce H. Johnson

    Shutter Island and the Brass Ring

    Larry mentioned several times in this deconstruction series that perhaps Shutter Island was a bit too much for us writers to strive for. “Don’t try this at home.”

    Well, maybe. Let’s keep our eyes on the brass ring [] and strive for the highest prize. Let’s go back to the purpose of fiction:

    The purpose of fiction is to give the audience a powerful emotional experience.

    Or even better, several powerful emotional experiences. Larry’s books and posts deal mainly with the Craft – the how-to, the basics, the Six Core Competencies without which you’ll not be commercially successful. How much competency or fiction-writing technique is needed to be successfully artistic or creative?

    Technical expertise itself adequate to produce an emotional impact. (L. Ron Hubbard)

    I read a Young Adult story years ago in which the protagonist was in a battle contest. One part was to ride a horse and spear a free-swinging ring at a gallop. Think of that ring as the brass ring of giving your audience (readers) powerful emotional experiences. Without the solid basics of riding and eye-hand coordination solidly practiced and in, you’ll never get the brass ring. And if you don’t have your eye on the brass ring (the goal of fiction writing), it’s a high probability you’ll not get it.

    Your artistic ability or talent as a story-teller depends on the basics, the Six Core Competencies. Without them, your talent will never shine as best it can.

    Can you be as talented as Dennis Lehane and/or Martin Scorsese? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to get your basics in so whatever talent you have has the best chance of grabbing your reader by the throat and giving him memorable powerful emotional experiences.

    (Note: Bruce’s website is great, and he’s a deep thinker and an elegant writer about storytelling. I highly recommended his work.)

  2. Submitted by Kelly Whitley

    How Deconstruction Can Reconstruct Your Writing Skills

    I came to StoryFix serendipitously. Or perhaps guided by an unseen muse. A brief reference to Larry in a workshop post led me to check out the StoryFix site. After reading some of the posts, I read Story Structure Demystified. And then I breathed a big sigh of relief:


    Finally, here’s someone who not only understands the principles of story telling, but can actually explain them to the rest of us in a way that makes sense. Suddenly, the story I thought I’d never be able to execute without a degree in English Literature didn’t seem impossible. Maybe I could write a book.

    I armed myself with sticky notes, marking the milestones in every book before I started to read. The principles held. I found myself timing the milestones in movies. The principles held. Then Larry announced plans to deconstruct Shutter Island, which is both a book and a movie- what better opportunity could there be to see these principles in action, plus get insight into why the milestones were the milestones, and not just percentage markers in the story?

    I read Shutter Island and saw the movie the weekend before the deconstruction began. The milestones were marked in my book, and the movie scenes in my mind. Even knowing the principles of story structure, I learned.

    A bunch.

    I got to see why the first plot point was different than what I’d pegged it as. I got to see the protagonist’s villain was within, not without. I got to see exactly where the plot changed from planning to action. Other participants offered insights that were valuable. And I got the benefit of Larry’s years of experience as he guided us through the twists and turns of Shutter Island.

    The deconstruction was like an anatomy and physiology lesson- how it was built, how it worked. The milestones were carefully dissected out for all to see.

    Not only had I read the book and enjoyed the book, I understood the book.

    I’m not a panster or an outliner. I’ll never be a Dennis Lehane. But I’m a writer, and a believer. No story ever published or produced does NOT use this structure, whether the writer was conscious of following it or not.

    I may never be a published author. But at least it won’t be because I don’t know the principles behind story structure. And I know I’ll continue to deconstruct everything I read and learn from it as I travel along the road of writing.

    Thanks, Larry. For everything.

  3. Submitted by Deanna M. Schrayer

    “What The Deconstruction of Shutter Island at storyfix Has Meant to Me”

    Thanks to a dear author friend, I tried my hand at fiction just last year, creating a blog specifically to practice writing short stories and flash pieces. I hadn’t wanted to do it – I was comfortable with creative nonfiction and was certain I had no talent for fiction.

    But this friend was, shall we say, pushy.

    I was surprised at the level of support and compliments I received on my stories. I gained a bit of confidence. Soon enough, that same friend, as well as the readers who’d not only left kind comments, but also offered constructive critique, started telling me I needed to write a novel.

    “Nope, can’t do it,” I told them, “I tried that once and got too frustrated.”

    Case closed.

    Then, earlier this year, I had the privilege of meeting one of my favorite, and highly successful, authors. I garnered the courage to tell her, in front of a room full of other listeners, that I am a writer, and I asked her a few questions. At the end of the event, as she was signing my book, she asked my name and what I wrote. We talked for a few minutes, and I had my picture taken with her. Other than it being one of the happiest days of my life, I didn’t think any more of it.

    So I was shocked when, two weeks later, I received an email from her telling me she’d been reading my work. She wrote, “You got the goods, and you need to get an agent.” She even gave me her own agent’s address, and told me to say she’d sent me. She said this as if I was already hard at work on a novel. So I felt I owed it to her to do just that – write a novel. I sat down, and started pounding it out.

    Before I read Larry’s deconstruction of Shutter Island, that novel, (all three chapters and various scattered scenes), made no sense. I had no idea what the point was, what my main character’s goal was, what the story was about. I was pantsing it. About the time I read halfway through the second part – A Primer, that light bulb in my head blazed. Aha! No wonder I couldn’t figure out what came next. I didn’t know where it was going!

    Epiphany noted.

    By the fourth part – the Opening Act, the gears had started turning. I began to think of my story in reverse. Oddly enough, I seemed to know instinctively what the point was, how the story would end. I could almost see the pieces of the puzzle shifting around in my head, and landing where they belonged. I even decided on a [working] title, something that had eluded me from the beginning, (because I didn’t know what it was about).

    Larry’s deconstruction of Shutter Island has taught me not only how to construct a novel, but, more importantly, why the method I was using, (pantsing), wasn’t working. I know that, as I continue to write the first draft, and most likely all subsequent drafts, of this book, I’ll be returning to this series for reminders, if not just good old-fashioned inspiration.

    Thank you so much Larry for this valuable lesson. I hope to one day be able to pay it forward.

  4. Submitted by Nola Nelson

    I see the turning points, midpoints, and plot points as the momentary emergence of a core underlying truth in a story, like the bedrock of a river that shapes its flow: Enduring while weaker stuff washes away and exposes it at the most critical spots to provide both an obstacle and an anchor for pivoting. Most of the time, the surface is all the business going on, but occasionally the reader gets tipped up on edge and whipped around a corner when a boulder pokes up. The writer has to decide what size rapids are appropriate to the texture and momentum of the work. A riffle stirred by world view in a romance? A Class IV heart stopper thrown up by a bomb in the basement in a thriller? But it’s essential that the stuff of the bedrock be consistent and internal to the tension of the story, not a meteorite dropping out of the sky for the convenience of a plot. (Don’t you hate it when that happens?) To complicate matters, the reader’s recognition and reaction to the intended turning points will be tempered by his own mindset and personal history. Regardless, he should accept it as an integral part of the world the writer has constructed–valid and there all the while–even when lead to feel baffled and uneasy, like peeks through Teddy’s delusions to the reality that directs his actions.

  5. Submitted by Becca Legassi

    I have been faithfully reading every blog post written by Larry Brooks since August 28 2009. I read through the deconstructions of other movies he has done but non of them touched my brain like this one did.

    I want to make it clear that I had not been able to see “Shutter Island” before the first post went up on 4/20/2010 but I had to read it anyway. I went into this with the same mind set that I always do when reading his posts, to get good information that I could later use. I had not really ever thought about watching “Shutter Island” because the previews I had seen just did not catch my interest. Then I read ” Thirdly, the story is extraordinarily complex, nuanced and uncompromisingly brilliant. This isn’t an entry-level deconstruction, it’s like learning to fly by taking lessons in an F-18.” in that post and I was intrigued. I was able to get my hands on the movie so I was able to watch some of it before the post on 4/25/2010. I chose at that time to watch it slowly as I read through each post that Larry gave us. I would advise each of you who have taken the time to read through the whole set of posts on “Shutter Island” to do just that because you will get 200% more out of what you are learning.

    I love movies and love to break them down to what they are really trying to get us to see. If I had watched this movie on it’s own my mind would have shut down because of how not quite right some of the scenes were. To watch it instead as I am reading Larry’s post put my mind into the proper unconnected box it needed to be in so as not to shut down.

    Knowing the former work of DiCaprio and loving most of his movies had I not of known what was truly going on I would have been disappointed in him. I would have continued to watch the movie because that is just how I am, if I start a movie I have to finish it. To just watch this movie as any Joe Blow in the theater would watch it means you would only get about 20% out of it. My brother and sister-in-law did go see it and just didn’t get it and told others not to bother. But take a writer who now knows the end because of deconstructing it and they are getting 120% out of it. Their mind has been falayed open to a point that is now big enough to truly understand or at least accept what is going on.

    Larry is able to show you in the easiest barest ways just what the writer Lehane has done to you with this movie. You have to know the meaning of the right words (the trade words) in order to understand each aspect of any deconstruction which Larry does for you.

    This movie is epic for me and I am telling every one to see it when they can. My parents who don’t watch scary freaky movies said that they would not watch it until I told them that they should. IT IS THAT GOOD!

    I am going to read the book as soon as it gets here and I will be going through Larry’s deconstruction while reading it. I look forward as always to what Larry will send us next.

  6. Submitted by Martha Miller
    Portland, Oregon

    (Note: Martha is a friend and supporter to many writers through her many years of leadership and contribution to the Oregon Writers Colony –

    Your deconstruction of “Shutter Island” was a masterpiece of hard work and intellectual thinking. The movie’s story and its atmosphere grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. I saw it twice and read the book, but it was only after reading your posts and understanding what Lehane did, and more importantly, how he did it, that I was able to shake loose from the Lehane’s clutches. A very big and sincere thanks to you for dissecting it and sharing your conclusions.

  7. Submitted by Clancy Metzger

    Friends, today we are digressing slightly from the norm. This is not exactly about Shutter Island the book or movie. It isn’t even about the structure of the story by Dennis Lehane as deconstructed by Larry Brooks on his website, (if you write or aspire to write – StoryFix is a must read). I guess it’s really about the benefit of deconstruction in general and specifically as done by Larry Brooks.

    First, let me begin by saying that I think Larry Brooks is a genius (or at least a really, super smart guy). I’ve just learned a ton about writing, structure and other writerly things due to his blog.

    He recently, as in just finished it in the last couple days, a series of posts deconstructing Shutter Island. I think I have a fairly analytical mind, but I aspire to his level of skill in breaking apart a story. I am getting better at it as I read more of his deconstructions and deconstruct more stories for myself, but I still have a long way to go. As a writing tool, deconstruction is brilliant. I can’t even read a book now without looking for the four structure parts, the plot and pinch points, it’s really changed how I read. I want to see what the published authors are doing at the specific points in their stories that transition the four structure parts from one to the next.

    Before Larry, I had never actively, consciously, thought about the parts of the story as he puts forth: the set-up, the response, the attack, and the resolution. And that each of these has a specific goal or mission to accomplish had sort of passed right by me as well. Now, they do not. I watch for them, I notice them, I appreciate them more when they are done well, and I’m excited by my new found recognition of them because they are improving my writing tremendously.

    As a side note – Shutter Island… Leo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and a really amazing cast- seriously crazy amazing. Do I really need to say it? Watch the movie, read the book, do both, do one twice – you really will need to invest in more than one visit to Shutter Island (remember The Sixth Sense and you had to watch it twice? Think that one on wicked good steroids – no kidding).

  8. Submitted by Anna Fay Williams

    First, I was impressed with the whole series of analysis on Shutter Island because there were so many points in the story where it did not make sense to me. I’m not sure I would have been able to ferret out the shifts if I had not reviewed with your analysis.

    The second point is that these postings led me to your book on structure and once I was able to get through that ebook, a lot began to make sense to me.

    In general, I think Shutter Island represents a particular problem of identifying story shifts when you are within a person’s mind and when there are doubts as to what is really happening on a physical action level. So the analysis was successful in relating those two levels for me. Perhaps i would have to read the novel again but I was never sure about the main antagonist. Was it Teddy’s inner demon or Dr. Cawley? I have even more confusion about Dr. Cawley’s role with your last comment that Teddy has chosen to die a good man and obviously Dr. Cawley facilitates him.

    Overall, the book’s story is so integrally woven that it would undoubtedly take several readings to fully appreciate the setups. Thanks for guiding the way on the plot’s twists and turns.

  9. Submitted by Sandra Petersen

    Thanks for all the great information in the deconstruct of Shutter Island. I saw the film and “got it” on first viewing, but I didn’t know what it was I “got” until I read your blog. I will be buying your new book “Whisper of the Seventh Thunder” as well as the nonfiction on story structure. Thanks for all you do to teach, guide, and inspire the rest of us.

    Oh, I almost forgot. Thanks for making May my favorite calendar picture month!

    (Timidly added editorial note : if you want to see what Anna is talking about on that last one, go here:

  10. Submitted by Laura Jane Thompson

    It is difficult for me to wrap my head around the formulation of a story like Dennis Lehane’s SHUTTER ISLAND. Although I love to write (and possess a modest talent for it), plot twists have never been my strong suit. I tend to think in a linear fashion that precludes the foreshadowing and clue-dropping necessary to create a piece with a big GOTCHA moment.

    Deception is the name of the game in SHUTTER ISLAND, and had it been molded with less-experienced hands than Lehane’s, it probably would not have worked. I’ve read the book several times now, mentally cataloging the various fraudulent clues, the seemingly irrelevant comparisons, the observations Lehane points out to the reader through Teddy Daniels that feel incongruous when you don’t know the ending.

    What interests me most, however, are the ingenious ways in which Lehane instills empathy for Teddy Daniels in his readers.

    With rich, evocative prose, Lehane puts the reader in Teddy’s mind and paints a nostalgic picture of Teddy’s life with Dolores. The reader feels love emanating from every memory involving the “marshal’s wife”, and empathizes with Teddy’s grief and ethical dilemmas even while trying to figure out what heinous truths are hidden within the walls of Ashecliffe.

    Every review I’ve read of SHUTTER ISLAND focuses on the deceptive plot, but I think the deception with regard to Teddy’s psyche is even more profound. You spend hundreds of pages rooting for the character and trying to guess what he might decide next, but in the end all your nail-biting and teeth-clenching is irrelevant. Because Teddy isn’t who you thought he was.

    And even though some part of Teddy Daniels must bear at least a fleeting resemblance to the marshal whose mask he dons, the relationship the reader establishes with Teddy is built on a crumbling foundation.

    Part of me wants to hate SHUTTER ISLAND. I like books in which I can find solid ground with the main character, stories that bring out the best in the protagonist. But Lehane’s novel is so finely crafted that I find myself going back to it, if only as a reference for my own career.

    It’s a great lesson for writers. Yes, you can stretch the boundaries of convention with your prose, and yes, you can deceive your readers. But if you’re going to take the SHUTTER ISLAND route, you’d better have a slam-dunk story with which to console the reader once he figures out that you pulled a bait-and-switch.

    At the very end of the story, Lehane lets loose the bomb that changes everything and reveals his secrets to the reader. We come to understand the purpose of the shenanigans at Shutter Island, the real reason why so many details just didn’t make sense. And when it’s all said and done, Lehane doesn’t just leave the reader hanging. He doesn’t wash away the empathy you felt for Teddy Daniels, but expertly morphs it into a new brand of compassion for Teddy’s actual state of mind.

    This, in my opinion, is SHUTTER ISLAND’s saving grace.

  11. Submitted by Stephanie Shackelford

    I’m wrestling with a wip that has so many scenes and alternative scenes, plot threads and alternate characters that I no longer really know the story. I have had a blast writing this, but it is time to finish it already!

    That’s why I’m soooo glad I found Larry and Storyfix. He finally made story structure make sense. I’m a pantser (in life as well as writing), but I knew intuitively that I needed a clearer picture of Story, that elusive structure that makes it nigh impossible to stop reading a good book. I’d read Chris Vogler, Michael Hague, Blake Snyder and others looking for understanding. I did learn a lot from them, but much of it was still vague. Then I tried Donald Maas, thinking that was what I needed. All that did was to create even more alternatives for my ever-growing work-in-progress. (His favorite assignments are to add new characters, scenes, what-ifs. Great stuff, but NOT what I needed.)

    What I needed was a clear, concise plan to follow that was fully adaptable to my style of writing. Larry, with his “Story Structure Demystified” gave me that. His explanations of the 4 parts of a story, the growth of the hero that happens in each part, of the crucial milestones and the necessary pinch points brought sense and structure to my understanding of Story. I began to see glimpses of how and why my novel wasn’t working. I had my heroine acting like a heroine much too early or my villain took center stage at the wrong places, I gave too much back-story or not enough context to create empathy.

    Reading “Story Structure Demystified” was my first giant leap toward understanding, but reading these latest posts on deconstructing “Shutter Island” actually showed me how it all worked. I needed that desperately. I’m a hands-on learner. I really can’t learn anything by only reading about it. I must experience it in some way, even if it is only to imagine myself walking through each step of an activity. That’s what deconstructing did for me. I’d read a couple of other deconstructing posts, but they were of books or movies I had not read/watched. I made a point to read “Shutter Island” before I read Larry’s posts on deconstructing it just so I could experience the deconstruction more thoroughly.

    I’ve learned too many things to enumerate here, but two of the most crucial are about how to show the hero’s growth and how and where to reveal important information about the villain. One of my struggles with my monster work-in-progress was uncertainty about when to bring in certain activities. I brought some actions in too early and didn’t realize that was why the story seemed off-kilter. I couldn’t have her being successful until later in the book. I need to show her growing to that place of heroism. I need more floundering scenes, where she was trying to accomplish something, but not quite getting it right. Another important issue was where and how to highlight my villain. Learning that the pinch points are the places to do that has sharpened my focus on my villain, turned him into a much more three-dimensional character.

    Larry, thank you, thank you, thank you! As you said in one of your posts, “Shutter Island” is an advanced level novel to deconstruct, but it was exactly what I needed to get a good grip on the concepts of Story Structure. I look forward to more deconstructions and I especially look forward to using these lessons in my own works. Thank you!

  12. Well I can certainly see why you had trouble deciding on a “winner” Larry – all thought-provoking entries. Obviously you’ve touched many storytellers and I, for one, am grateful. Thank you so much for doing this series!

    Congratulations Amy! Your entry, as Larry stated, did stand out, and you’re very deserving of the win. I’ll stop in and check out everyone’s sites.

    On a related note, Larry, I’d also like to thank you for planting the idea of a series in my head. When I sat down to write a post – just one mind you – for fibromyalgia awareness day I realized there was way too much information to fit into a reasonable sized blog post. Then I remembered this series and thought “why not?”, so I did a five part series on fibromyalgia. It brought a lot of traffic, and a few new readers. I only wish I didn’t have to work one of those “real” jobs so I could spend more time doing more like this, but I also better be careful what I wish for. In any case, I now know how time-consuming doing a series can be, so I appreciate your deconstruction of Shutter Island all the more. Thank you so much!

  13. Amy wrote the best book recommendation I have ever read.

  14. Kelly

    Congrats on 200 posts. A great beginning…!
    Looking forward to more.

  15. Jim C.

    How did Andrew Laeddis die a good man if he realized what he had done, as you suppose? Then he died a murderer, no? That would be a Monster. If he lived knowing what he had done, as you suppose he is now aware of, and if they truly wanted to help him, as you suppose the “experiment” on the Island was for, then he would have possibly been rehabilitated and it isn’t much of a stretch that people would have even sympathized with the predicament he found himself him when he killed his wife. Especially in the 50’s where women were still regarded, for the most part, as subject to their husbands.

    So it makes more sense, to me at least, to interpret his statement that he was dying a good man because he was going to die knowing the truth; that he was a good man, Teddy Daniels, who never murdered anyone. However, to live he would have to admit that he was a Monster/Murderer and have to become what they wanted him to become, Andrew Laeddis. How was he dying a good man if to live under them same conditions made him a monster? I don’t see any logic in that. You are inferring a suicide by cop scenario. If he said, “Is it better to give your life to BECOME a good man, or live as a monster?,” then your interpretation would follow perfect logic.

    So I don’t see the Monster/Good man comment giving the clarity that you are saying it does. Furthermore, what type of reputable place does brain surgery in a Lighthouse??? Because that is where they take Teddy, right? Dr. Crowley appears to mouth it and then we get a final shot focusing on the lighthouse where they are taking Teddy toward.

    And about the Noyce Dialogue… Noyce tells him that he can not kill Laeddis and dig up the truth. All of your interpretations were my original interpretation until I watched this scene again trying to see it from the other side. Is Noyce telling him that he can not find the truth and kill Laeddis because Teddy is Laeddis or because Laeddis has been transferred, as Noyce says, and Teddy is not getting off the Island if he keeps pursuing the truth of the experiments going on there? When Teddy asked Noyce how did they transfer you, Noyce says is was because of Teddy. He didn’t say that he was never transferred. He said it was because “they knew everything.” Once again I don’t see how this is so clear cut. Noyce also says that they are going to cut out his brain in the lighthouse. He also says it is Teddy’s fault that he is there and that he was just a way in for Teddy. This sounds like Teddy’s original explanation to Dr. Sheehan about Noyce sounds reasonable. No? And Noyce says that if you trust your partner than they already won and begins to whine that he, Noyce, will never get out of here. Because Noyce realizes that if Teddy trust Chuck then he will reveal his true intentions for being on the Island…no?

    Also, is the woman that Teddy sees in the beginning placing her finger over her mouth because she is keeping a secret, or is she warning Teddy (in her crazy way) to keep his mouth shut. I mean I can go on and on.

    When Teddy hears the music in the Doctor’s home, why does he know it? Because he has been there for two years? Or because they have studied Teddy and know his back story? Are they trying to trigger and distort certain memories?

    Why doe Dr. Crawley say, “Why are you all wet Baby?” Is he trying to help Teddy or implant memories? How can we definitively say?

    I am eagerly anticipating your response.

  16. Derek

    I admit, I’ve always disliked Leonardo DiCaprio. Whether out of jealousy of his looks, his success, or just that half grin that irks me, I am not sure. I admit, he is a phenominal actor, but when I love the movies he’s in, it is the story and direction not the man that draws me. I remember too well his early rise to stardom, quickly becoming a teen idol, and that impression of him has stuck with me. For me, he has always been in the realm of tween girls who like to scream, “Leonardo!!”.

    Having said that, I consciously realize he has proven himself as an actor over and over again. Just to list some of the great films and acting he’s starred in: The Quick and the Dead (a manly man’s film with a heart), Basketball Diaries, Romeo and Juliet (modernized), Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Inception, and finally Shutter Island.

    It was Shutter Island that made me a believer. The level of acting, as usual for him, was commendable. But it wasn’t until after I read the deconstruction of Shutter Island and then watched the movie again (also bought the book after reading the desconstruction) did I realize just how high a caliber actor one has to be to pull off such a role. For most of those roles, but the role of Teddy/Andrew specifically. It is a true and rare gift, when a story allows you to get into the role’s skin so well. It is a true and rare actor who can properly portray that role on the screen.

    It was because of my own personal feelings, in the case of the movie, towards the actor that led me to biasly watch the story. I instantly recognized it as good…maybe even great, but I could not get around imagining screaming tweens every time I saw him. Does the man even age?

    It was this deconstruction that allowed me to see exactly how the story was crafted that allowed me to appreciate the it and thus the actor more. It was clear, concise, and (as other’s have mentioned) has given me validation on stuff I’ve only read about on this blog about dissecting the structure.

    So I send out a BIG heart felt thanks to Larry. I eagerly go from this point on to read his other deconstructions. I hope that I reach the same enlightment in the end.