Friday, February 10, 2012

Shutter the Front Door

Title: Shutter Island  (graphic novel adaptation)
Author: Dennis Lehane
Illustrator: Christian de Metter
Bookmark: seriously? it's a graphic novel.  I set it down once with a pen between the pages, then I finished doing the dishes and read the rest.

I noticed this on the shelf behind me while I was busy stealing the library's wifi the other day, and decided to pull it because I was too cheap to see the movie.  It wasn't until I got home that I realized the movie was not based upon the graphic novel, but that they were both based upon one of those books with lots of words and no pictures.

That other book might have been a better choice.

I don't always get the point of graphic novels.  I read the two which formed the basis for the Surrogates movie (I never posted them.  Sue me.), and while the story seemed kind of interesting, the art looked choppy.  It was kind of hard to view.  Hard enough that I read all the text, and glanced at the images enough to give me some idea of where the speakers were (it was sometimes difficult to distinguish the scratchy lines of one character from the scratchy lines for another, so if they didn't address one another by name, I wasn't always certain who I was reading).  I found that I had to remind myself that I was reading a graphic novel, and I missed the point of that if I never looked at the graphics, so I'd go back a few pages, glance at the art, and then go back to just reading the text.  I had that problem with Shutter Island, too--the two main characters wore identical clothing, so I could only distinguish them when they took off their hats, and that wasn't often.  Most of the time, it was in such a dark space that I still couldn't tell who it was.  And without the pictures to explain what was happening, the plot is even harder to follow.  I would have been better off with a wall of text to explain things.

My best effort:

US Marshall Ted Daniels and his partner Chuck Aule take the ferry to Shutter Island just before a hurricane hits to try to find a woman who has somehow escaped the mental facility which is isolated there.  The facility houses criminally insane and dangerous people.  During the course of four or five days, Ted becomes obsessed with cracking a strange numeric code left by the woman and finding the mysterious Patient 67 to which the code alludes.  The hurricane isolates them from the mainland, shuts down communication, and plays hell with their power.  The hospital staff seem to be hiding something, he has strange dreams which seem to lead him closer to the truth, and rock piles on the island's beaches seem to spell out a message from the missing woman in the same code he found in her notebook.  Pretty reachy.

If you've seen the movie, then you probably know the rest.  Maybe you can explain it to me.  Maybe I'll get the real book and have another go at this.

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posted by reyn at 7:26 PM


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