Published By: Sougata Dutta

The Ending Of The Movie 'Shutter Island' Explained

A psychological thriller with oriental approach..

 Shutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller movie, directed by Martin Scorsese. The movie was actually based on a best selling novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane.


Throughout the film, Teddy suffers a collection of migraines and hallucinations of his wife, Dolores (Michelle Williams), who was once killed in a furnace set by a man named Andrew Laeddis. As his mental stress turns more extreme over the path of his investigation into Rachel's disappearance, his search takes him outdoor Ashecliffe's partitions to the seaside cliffs and Shutter Island's ominous lighthouse, simply off the coast.

At first, all seems to be going properly with Andrew's progress...but it is not before he starts to regress. He starts off evolving to discuss his secret wish to leave the island, hinting that he is once more retreating further into his idea and the "Teddy" personality. And simply as Cawley warned, this actually used to be Andrew's ultimate chance. A disillusioned Cawley consults with Ashecliffe's warden, and Andrew is taken away by the facility's orderlies for lobotomization to completely stop the vicious cycle of guilt and delusions that plague him.


It's surprisingly bleak ending, however one that might also not be as ultimate as it can also first appear. Was Andrew actually lobotomized? The film's final shot lingering on the lighthouse the place the technique will take place is enormously ominous (as is the accompanying score) and appears to hint at Andrew's eventual operation, however due to the fact we do not really see it happen, we do not understand for sure.


After all, before he is taken away, he asks Sheehan what he thinks is worse: "To live as a monster, or to die as a good man?" Basically, would he rather continue living as himself, sane Andrew, however any person who committed a crime by murdering his wife, or being lobotomized as a delusional Teddy, his imagined self who in no way killed anybody? It's a barely distinctive ending than the book, however Andrew's question appears to trace that he simply might be okay with the technique since doing so would erase the memories of the awful things he has done. Peace (with himself and what he has done), no longer a life of guilt and horrible memories, appears to be his true desire.

Shutter Island forces its characters — and viewers — to question what is real and what is imagined, however even more importantly it raises the question of what it genuinely means to be insane.