Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, based in 1954, explores the story of U.S Marshals Teddy Daniels (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (portrayed by Mark Ruffalo), and their investigation of a murderer who has escaped from a mental hospital for the “criminally insane.” This said mental hospital is known as the Ashecliffe Hospital, physically located on Shutter Island off the coast of Boston. The investigation seems to end pretty fast, but there wouldn’t be a move if it ended within the first 20 minutes. Fortunately and unfortunately, a dangerous storm hits the island and the two U.S Marshals are forced to stay; therefore, leading them into a deeper investigation. This is a movie of filled with mystery, suspense, thrills and a certain exciting twist to end the movie, all which keeps the audience on their toes and wanting to find out how the investigation ends.
The movie trailer for Shutter Island utilizes the arguments of ethos, logos, and pathos to interest and convince the audience to view the movie. Right from the beginning of the trailer, we are shown that the production company for the movie is Paramount Pictures and the director is Martin Scorsese, both of which are very well known in the movie industry; the audience immediately feels ethos and logos. As stated in our reading, “If a company…is well known, liked, and respected, that reputation will contribute to its persuasive power” (Lunsford 56). Therefore, the audience already knows this movie should be worth seeing. Another use of logos and ethos is Leonardo DiCaprio is headlined. DiCaprio is a very well known actor in the American Star System as well as films by Scorsese. If any member of the audience has seen a previous DiCaprio movie, he/she will know that this main character, Daniels, will be a very powerful and overwhelming role, and if the audience is a fan of DiCaprio, he/she are automatically interested. However, it is very curious that this trailer does not highlight on Mark Ruffalo, even though is he also a well-known actor. The trailer also uses more logos as the trailer goes on by explaining the story’s plot and the events occurring, showing fights, action scenes, flashbacks of Daniels, and also how obsessed Daniels becomes with the case. The audience becomes more curious and psychologically attached to the trailer.
The trailer uses pathos a lot through the dark and gloomy almost freaky images and lighting used. According to Lunsford, “Our response to color is part of our biological and cultural make up.” So the creator of this trailer really pulls on the emotions of the audience by using a darker lighting. The music as well gives the audience a strong sense of emotion in that is starts as a slow, suspenseful track with scenes that introduce the plot and then as the trailer leads on the track and scenes gets more fast paced and exciting, as well as the use of sound effects such as screams, the audience becomes more enticed and full of adrenaline.
By watching the trailer, it is clear that this movie is not for the faint of heart; it makes the movie seem scary and very intense, which it is. We understand through the trailer that the movie mystery thriller involving a twist of psychology. A movie like this would target an audience who enjoys mystery. I believe the arguments of ethos, pathos, and logos are used very well, even when being intertwined, making the trailer convincing and successful in gaining the attention and emotions of the audience. Therefore, I give this trailer a three on our class’ rating scale.