Drama thriller with a karmic aspect.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Protagonist: Leonardo DiCaprio
I got a link to Shutter Island (SI) via a review of the movie Lazarus Project, which was said to have similarities to SI.
I agree with that from the point of the setting – both movies (at least partly) are set in psycho clinics. However, the main idea of Shutter Island is close to Machinist (M).
In both movies (SI and M), the protagonist is someone who committed a sin. The sin is generated by taking the life of a human being. In the Machinist, the protagonist, Trevor, hit a little boy with his car and left him, without helping; in SI it’s Teddy, who shot his mentally ill wife. Afterwards, as a payment of the sin, both of them are hit by negative karma, which is reaching them in their present lives.
However, there are significant differences in these stories too.
The protagonist in the Machinist is the only one who pays the spiritual debt. Trevor is a very smart guy and he has been able to hide his crime from society so that nobody knows about it.
In SI both Teddy and the society are guilty in his family’s tragedy and they all pay for that. The sin of the society is not obvious. In fact, society itself blames Teddy for the crime, avoiding to take direct responsibility for its own guilt. The society knew about the mental problems of Teddy’s wife. Teddy, actually, had been very busy serving the society at the best of his abilities – he had a very stressful job.
The negative karma is following the society and it is supposed to allocate enormous resources to keep Teddy in an isolated psycho clinic and to improve his mental condition.
Accepting its sin would bring society to true cooperation with Teddy and his own identity. Denying the sin is only prolonging a game between them.