Angry Robot

Shutter Island, This Bitter Mashup

Shutter Island has many delights. Even a sub-par picture by Marty Scorsleazy is sure to be full of masterful craft moments, as his crew is top notch. This one is no exception: shot by Rob Richardson, edited by Thelma Schoonmaker, designed by Dante Ferretti, the names are as predictable as they are excellent. One surprise is old Scorcese pal Robbie Robertson as music supervisor. In the Kubrick style, there is no original score, so this job is more important than simply finding pop songs to play in the background of bar scenes. Even more Kubrickian is the inclusion of Ligeti and Penderecki (you might remember us from such modernist horror scores as: The Shining), but there’s also some Eno, some Cage. One powerful piece is “On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter, a beautiful, languid, melancholy, near-minimalist string piece. The soundtrack is great. (So is the film, by the way.)

Shutter Island’s last act is full of surprises. Perhaps the greatest – not a spoiler! – is the song that plays over the credits. It’s surprising because it’s a mashup, of the aforementioned Richter track with Dinah Washington’s “This Bitter Earth”. It’s also surprising because it’s a beautiful mashup, perhaps the greatest I’ve heard. The only credit for the composite work is “mixed by Robbie Robertson”. Quite a set of ears on that dude, to say nothing of the brain that thought of blending these two sources that are so dissimilar but also simply made to be together. Have a listen, but also chase down the originals to see what I’m talking about.