“Shutter Island” and the Cinematic Novels of Dennis Lehane
Leonardo DiCaprio in “Shutter Island.”
BY GEORGE LANG
When readers pick up Dennis Lehane’s novels, they are transported into a world where the grimiest details come so thick they can smell the mildew in the row houses of South Boston. But when a director picks up a Lehane, as Martin Scorsese did with “Shutter Island” or Clint Eastwood did with “Mystic River,” he sees a shooting script, and a movie unspools in his head before a single frame is developed:
They all lived in East Buckingham, just west of downtown, a neighborhood of cramped corner stores, small playgrounds, and butcher shops where meat, still pink with blood, hung in the windows. The bars had Irish names and Dodge Darts by the curbs. Women wore handkerchiefs tied off at the backs of their skulls and carried mock leather snap purses for their cigarettes. Until a couple of years ago, older boys had been plucked from the streets, as if by spaceships, and sent to war. They came back hollow and sullen a year or so later, or they didn’t come back at all. Days, the mothers searched the papers for coupons. Nights, the fathers went to the bars. You knew everyone; nobody except those older boys ever left.
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