- Adaptation Displacement: Most people that go into the movie don't exactly realize it was based on a novel.
- Award Snub: Leonardo DiCaprio gives a heart-wrenching performance and wasn't even nominated by the Academy. He was nominated for Best Actor by six other awards associations. He didn't win any. Even after he won for The Revenant, many still believe this is the film he should have won for.
- Awesome Music: Even among those who didn't like the film, almost everybody has agreed that the soundtrack is very good. Of particular note is Max Richter's "On the Nature of Daylight", a beautiful piece which plays during Teddy's first dream about his wife and his encounter with George Noyce.
- Dead Guy Junior: A really disturbing, twisted inversion in the novel: Laeddis takes his alias, Teddy Daniels, from the names of his murdered sons Edward and Daniel, and the mysterious missing Rachel Solano's name comes from his dead daughter Rachel.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Patricia Clarkson talking about a government testing project to create a dystopia. Fast forward to The Maze Runner films where she is the head of such a government.
- Mark Ruffalo as the psychiatrist to a criminal with rage issues becomes positively hilarious once it's revealed - since Ruffalo is now known as The Incredible Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- The subject of the plot is a young woman in a mental hospital who suffered Sanity Slippage due to the death of a loved one and imagined an elaborate fantasy world for herself - and she's also played by a Fake American actress with Emily as a first name. Are we talking about Shutter Island or Sucker Punch? Both movies end with a character getting a lobotomy.
- Twice more Leonardo Di Caprio would be haunted by visions of his dead wife - in Inception and The Revenant. The former (which came out the same year!) has him responsible for the death after his wife went mad too.
- Once again, Leonardo's character doesn't do well around water. Bonus points for all three movies being set in the past.
- Memetic Mutation: Teddy's Big "NO!" after discovering his dead children became used in memes after a while.
- Moral Event Horizon: Dr. Naehring arguing in favor of leaving the patients shackled to the floor to potentially drown. Quite probably an intentional Kick the Dog moment to solidify his image as a mad Nazi doctor in
- The opening theme can be a little over the top, especially when all that's happening is a boat approaching an island. Oh no... waves! DUN DUN DUN!!!! And then it arguably turns into full-blown Nightmare Fuel when it plays over the shot of the lighthouse at the very end of the film.
- "Marshall...you have no friends." Intended as a way of saying "Trust no one", but it sounds remarkably like a childish insult.
- A likely intentional example here: When Teddy and Chuck enter Ward C, the atmosphere is quiet and intense, a look of solemn determination across Teddy's face. All of a sudden, "Tag! You're it!"
- Teddy's line about Andrew Laeddis "he lit the match that started the fire that killed my wife" - quite an awkward mouthful.
- Dolores's name is never spoken on screen until the scene where it's revealed to be significant - an anagram of Rachel Solando - making it feel less like the Wham Line it's meant as.
- One-Scene Wonder:
- The inmates interrogated by Teddy give one hell of a performance, particularly Jackie Earle Haley.
- In the one scene in which he has any dialogue, Ted Levine delivers a gripping Character Filibuster on how violence is a gift from God (which arguably doubles as some variant of "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Teddy/Andrew about what the warden sees as the inevitability of his lobotomization)..
- Patricia Clarkson as the imagined Rachel, who Teddy finds camped on the island. She doesn't appear past this scene, but provides plenty of Nightmare and Paranoia Fuel (see below).
- Paranoia Fuel:
- The imagined Rachel says that in fifty years the Ghost project will be operational. The book takes place in 1954. It was published in 2003. Subverted. There is no Ghost project. That We know of anyway
- The reveal is sure to make you think "What if I'm actually crazy, and my life is a just an insane asylum's role-play game to bring me back to sanity?"
- Rewatch Bonus:
- Chuck fumbling with his gun a few times acts as Foreshadowing for the fact that he's only pretending to be a detective.
- Likewise, the mannerisms of the first few patients Teddy sees don't seem so crazy once you know that they've seen him before as a fellow-patient.
- When Mrs. Kearns mentions that she finds Dr. Sheehan handsome, Chuck can be seen grinning. It makes sense, since he's Dr. Sheehan.
- The real Rachel is barefoot when Teddy runs into her in the cave. But she's inexplicably wearing shoes the next morning. As 'Rachel' escaped without any shoes, this foreshadows that Teddy hallucinates this entire meeting.
- Another Mrs. Kearns one. When Chuck gives her a glass of water, you see her making movements of drinking but there's no glass in her hand. And in the next shot there's a glass on the table. Another bit of Foreshadowing that Teddy is hallucinating.
YMMV / Shutter Island