Scorsese, DiCaprio and Lehane navigate ‘Shutter Island’s’ rocky shoals

To many -- movie fans, film theorists and the dozens of young directors who've sought to emulate his two-fisted early style -- Martin Scorsese is the consummate American auteur. He's a filmmaker, that is, with a profound and distinctive personal vision and the clout and courage to put it on screen.

But when Scorsese, 67, was working to adapt a tightly constructed thriller by author Dennis Lehane -- a novel that pulls the rug out from under its premise several times -- the director was suddenly in a very un-auteur-like straitjacket. Not only did the book's twist-driven structure preclude reinterpretation or personal moments, "Shutter Island," which reaches theaters Feb. 19, sent him on an exhausting emotional journey as well.

"When I got to it I said, 'Oh, my, this has to be exactly right,' " a compact-and-dapper-looking Scorsese says of the film's hair-trigger plotting. And the actual filmmaking made him feel he was trapped inside a Hitchcock movie: "When I got to the shooting and editing of it," he says, "it was like being thrown down a spiral [staircase].

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