7. Shutter Island
Distracted by its “does this hold water?” twist, many have overlooked Shutter Island, undeniably one of the best of Scorsese’s collaborations with DiCaprio. The atmosphere and unsettling tension of the titular location, the mystery over what really transpired prior to DiCaprio’s arrival and what is going on behind closed doors all conspire to impact us with genuine effectiveness and DiCaprio anchors it all with convincing believability.
The sequence that really gets us though, is DiCaprio’s visit to, shall we say, the troubled inmates, specifically Jackie Earle Haley’s George Noyce. Yes, the make up and set design do a lot of the work here, but the acting, framing, lighting (a solitary flickering match) and sound all keep us off-balance and nervous in the extreme. Excellent.