Content and Trigger Warning Guide: Shutter Island

Note: This guide may contain spoilers.

Synopsis: In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane. (Source: IMDb)

MPAA Rating: R

Estimated Self-Censored Rating Using Full Guide: PG-13, or R based on the language still in the film.

Content Warnings

  • Nudity/Sexual Content (3)
    • Painting of a nude woman from 00:23:01 to 00:23:03.
    • A patient speaks sexually of a woman from 00:32:35 to 00:33:00. He says she likes to “be naked” and “suck cock.”
    • Brief full-frontal and rear male nudity from 01:10:40 to 1:10:48. This shot depicts a group of nude mental patients huddled together in a cell.
  • Blood (6)
    • During a flashback, a wounded Nazi soldier lies on the floor with his face blown open from a bullet wound. His face is covered in blood, and a puddle of blood surrounds his head. This is shown periodically from 00:23:45 to 00:24:45. In this scene, the wounded Nazi has unsuccessfully attempted to kill himself. Teddy watches as he reaches for his gun to finish the job, and then moves the gun out of reach so that the Nazi suffers a slow death. A quick shot of this scene is shown again from 00:42:48 to 00:42:52.
    • During a dream sequence, Teddy holds his wife and she begins to bleed from her stomach. The actual bleeding, shown from 00:28:58 to 00:29:05, is hidden by their hands, but later her entire lower half is seen covered in blood in a wide shot shown from 00:29:12 to 00:29:15.
    • During a vision, the woman who has been introduced to Teddy as Rachel stands across from him covered in blood. She asks him for help, and it is revealed that three bloodied children lie on the floor beneath her. Teddy is shocked, while Rachel seems as if nothing is wrong. He tells her he could get into trouble then picks up one of the children, a girl, who then speaks to him. She asks why he didn’t save her, and he replies that he tried, but was too late. The vision then cuts to a lake in which Teddy sets the girl into the water with the two others. This scene contains blood in almost every shot and runs from 01:00:37 to 01:02:27.
    • A man picks blood from a wound on his elbow and uses it to mark on a cell wall from 01:10:55 to 01:11:00.
    • Teddy shoots Dr. Cawley four times, each splattering blood on the wall behind him. This is shown from 01:55:18 to 01:55:20, but it is immediately revealed that it was not real.
    • During a flashback, Teddy shoots his wife, and her bloody wound is visible in various consecutive shots from 02:03:35 to 02:03:50.
  • Graphic Violence (6)
    • Quick flashes of piles of dead bodies are shown from 00:11:55 to 12:00.
    • During a flashback, piles of dead bodies lie in a concentration camp, a child clearly among them. This is shown from 00:43:05 to 00:43:20.
    • During the same flashback, a group of American soldiers, Teddy among them, line a group of Nazi soldiers against a fence and shoot them all dead. This is shown from 00:43:55 to 00:44:28.
    • Teddy violently and repeatedly punches and chokes a patient in Ward C from 01:09:05 to 01:09:20.
    • Teddy stabs Dr. Naehring with a needle at 01:39:55. No blood.
    • During a flashback, the dead bodies of children are seen floating in a lake from 01:59:50 to 02:01:08. It is implied they were drowned. The dead bodies are then shown on land until 02:02:08.

Trigger Warnings

  • Domestic/Child Abuse (1)
    • Dead children are shown and discussed at various moments throughout the film.
  • Drug/Alcohol Abuse (1)
    • Adult characters are shown smoking throughout most of the film.
    • Teddy takes some pills to help cure a headache at 00:12:15.
  • Self-Harm/Suicide (1)
    • The aftermath of a failed suicide attempt is shown at the times mentioned above.
  • Slurs (1)
    • One use of “nigger” at 00:33:48.

This guide was completed by John Morgan, a film student at University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

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