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Martin Scorsese wasn’t kidding when he said
that his neo-noir psychological thriller Shutter Island would be twice as profitable because
moviegoers would have to see it again just to understand the ending. Even a second viewing of the pic can still
leave audiences confused about what was actually happening to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character,
though. So, let’s walk through what went down on that
stormy island and see if we can make sense of this enigmatic movie experience. And of course, there are spoilers ahead. Finding the truth There’s still some disagreement over whether
the central character is actually named Edward Daniels, as he thinks, or if the doctors are
right, and his real name is Andrew Laeddis. But let’s just call him Teddy, to keep it
simple. After Teddy arrives to the island with his
new partner Chuck, who eventually claims to be his treating physician, Dr. Sheehan, he’s
slowly reintroduced to his supposed reality. Teddy is told that he shot his wife after
she lost her mind and drowned their three children in his lake house. Taken at face value, it might seem like Teddy
has simply been repressing that memory on a loop. Instead of shouldering the blame for his wife’s
mental deterioration and neglect, he’s convinced himself that he’s a U.S. Marshal investigating
a patient’s disappearance on the island and, by extension, tracking down the man who burned
his apartment with his wife inside. That might be all well and good for other
people because there are a lot of patients that are left to linger in their own little
worlds. But during his delusions, Teddy tends to exhibit
dangerous behavior and has been scheduled for a lobotomy as a result. Dr. Cawley desperately wants to avoid such
a fate by letting him live out this policing fantasy one last time, on a grander scale,
in hopes of making a mental breakthrough that’ll stick for good. Knowing this makes certain earlier moments
make more sense — like the fact that Chuck struggles to hand over his sidearm to the
guards and the moment when another patient loses her cool over the mention of his supposed
real name. The doctors seem to be unsuccessful in the
end, as Teddy appears to relapse once again. But there’s reason to believe it may have
actually worked this time because he tells Chuck: “Which would be worse: to live as a monster
or to die as a good man?” Sheehan himself seems to recognize this as
a moment of veiled lucidity. But has he fully embraced the reality they’ve
given him, or is there an even darker truth that everyone’s been trying to hide? Another reality Even if Teddy has come to terms with his crime,
it’s still possible that he actually did something worse than what he’s been told. The warden, who visibly hates him and doesn’t
seem as on-board with the experiment effort as others, makes mention of the fact that
Teddy’s committed terrible atrocities in his time. But even the memory Teddy’s said to be suppressing
isn’t that condemning. If his wife really did drown his children
and had become so far gone that she wanted to place their lifeless bodies at the dinner
table, then his reaction is relatively sympathetic. So, some theorists believe that story may
have also been a fabrication. Considering his wife is shown turning to embers
earlier on in his dreams, the movie seems to suggest that she actually did perish in
the fire that burned down his apartment, as he’d previously believed. And since he was convinced it was a man named
Andrew Laeddis who lit the match, he may have also been correct on that front, too — even
if he just didn’t realize he was after himself the whole time. That would certainly explain all the symbolism
of his use of matches in the jail cells and his pyro treatment of Cawley’s car. And it would also suggest that perhaps those
three children whose photos were thrust in his face to convince him of the story were
never actually his. After all, he did see the same girl in the
wreckage during his flashbacks to the war. And he never sees the children floating in
his lake until he’s shown those images. Which means … Choosing an out If Teddy did cause his wife’s demise by fire,
he may have done so in a moment of post-traumatic stress stemming from his service in World
War II. “I killed a lot of people in the war.” As he says throughout the movie, he has been
overwhelmed by the depravity he witnessed while storming the concentration camp and
taking out the guards, even though they were surrendering to his troops. Because of his extreme guilt and inability
to accept the crimes he has committed, Teddy may have chosen to manufacture a false reality
in which he is a U.S. Marshal on the hunt for his wife’s attacker. Meanwhile, his doctors may still have conjured
up the story about his wife’s criminality in order to make him feel better about what
he’d actually done in hopes of him living out his days on the island in relative peace. After all, Teddy’s probably not alone in his
PTSD from the war, and maybe he’s just patient zero in trying to find a humane way to handle
soldiers who do terrible things as a result of their mentally taxing experiences overseas. “If we fail with you, then everything we’ve
tried to do here will be discredited. Everything.” In the film’s much-debated final scene, that
elaborate brainwashing project appears to have failed, with Teddy outwardly assuming
the role of U.S. Marshal once again. And because the doctors are unable to bring
Teddy “back to reality,” they have no choice but to lobotomize him. However, what we really see transpire is Teddy
choosing to be lobotomized. The doctors’ aggressive role play may have
actually worked—just not in the way they hoped. Perhaps the reason Teddy seems to accept the
controversial surgical intervention is that Teddy does, in fact, remember that he burnt
down his apartment building and with his wife inside. He may also know that, even if the alternative
scenario is true, he still attacked his wife at the lake house and lost his three young
children. Either way, the pain is too great to bear. Considering he’s been confronted with two
possible truths about his past violence, and can live with neither of them, his choice
to embrace the unknown seems pretty understandable. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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100 thoughts on “The Ending Of Shutter Island Finally Explained

  1. I want to do lobotomy Caz i want to forget this movie and want to watch it again Caz its so mind blowing…

  2. Didn't it say that he never actually went to war and he made that up too? I remember someone saying he never went to the camp at least

  3. They brainwashed him into thinking that he was insane (which the drugs helped). But at the end you realised he was just playing along and knows that he is actually Teddy and is doing the lobotomy because he knows there is no other way other out.

  4. He accepted he was andrew in the end and choose lobotomy over living with his past. Thats why he made the comment about living as a monster or die a good man.

  5. He is a cop ,he came along with his partner as an investigator…to investigate about the missing lady.

    in the island doctors are indulged in some experiments…where some of the patients are killed in the light house…then the patients count gets lesser 67 to 66…..marshall finds that missing lady in the cave..she reveals the truth that …doctors are misleading you by injecting you some drugs, pills and cigarettes to get bad dreams ….then marshal realizes whats happening in the island.(the lady in the cave says u have no friend…u r alone… means- the partner with him is not a true friend,,,that friend had joined hands with doctors of island).

    did u notice during investigation…one lady asks a glass of water to his partner…then she secretly writes in his book that "RUN" …means to escape from island.

    the doctors mislead him by giving drugs and make him as patient ….but his will power doest make to forget his real name.

    during last scene he is not under the control of doctors,,,he knows he is an investigator/cop …so they again want to inject him… he notices that they coming with injection….the movie ends…we should imagine that he will escape from island.

  6. I thought the ending made it pretty obvious that he realized that he'd actually killed his wife and decided he couldn't live with himself. The only thing that's really for debate is how he did it, and even then he probably wouldn't call himself a "monster" for killing her after she'd murdered his children, so I think it's likely that he killed her doing some PTSD trip.

  7. At about 5:03 when he picks up his son you can see a small flash that looks like a flame on the kids shirt for a short second

  8. Looks like he doesn't have any support. It is when he pondering whether to live like a monster – to give up his fight (be labotomized). Or to live a good life – to fight back.

  9. I believe that he was really sick but the movie is made the way so we all can think differently. In my opinion there are 4 to 5 opitons. Lets see:

    Option 1: He was insane, and the experiment didn't work. He really still thinks that he is detective. (I know seems like crazy theory but who said it can't be true? just because he said this slogan about living like a monster doesn't mean it mean something haha)

    Option 2: He was insane, the experiment did work, but he decided to get lobotomy because he can;t live knowing he killed his wife and didn;t help the kids. (probably 80 % of the people choose this one)

    Option 3: He was a detective, his name was Teddy, they brainwashed him, drugged him, set it all up because they want to get people for the experiment, at the end they made him believe that he done the crime etc, that he had kids, so he choose to get lobotomy.

    Options 4: Same as option 3 BUT he didn't believe them, he really was detective, but choose to get lobotomy because he knew he would never leave the island. (I personally don;t believe in this that he would give up so easily, he would probably just wait for a moment, pretend they cure him and then try to escape).

    Option 5: His partner was brainwashed and they make him to be a Teddys doctor, etc etc. ( some people thinkg like that but I don't think so.

    Mainly I think option 2 is right, because his doctor really looks sad at the end when he sees that Andrew is still not well. They all look worry etc. Maybe just because they didn't make him to believe but i dont think so. They look like care for him.


  11. If she died in the fire, doesn’t make sense why everyone else in the story is saying she died after the kids death. If he killed her, he killed her, why would the prison staff lie about the means?

  12. It’s a movie Martin Scorsese isn’t going to do all that bull you can obviously tell at the end of it that he is sane again and just chooses to “die”

  13. Hey, You are even more confused dude. You can try your hand in the script if the director is in mood for the sequel!!

  14. The plot has many holes: Who’s the girl in the cave, why he’s on a boat? And too many others that you explain in this video.

  15. in the fire burning dream with his wife she also is soaking wet and seems to have a pool of blood around her. in another dream she hands her bloody kids to him. this could be the truth creeping into his fabricated story of the fire

  16. Ending Explained: Lenardo Di'Caprios chracter made up a story where he is the legendary cop (Marshall) that is trying to find an escaped mental patient… but in reality Di'caprios wife killed their children so he shot her. He went insane and tries to deny that that has happened…

    the end… subtly hints that he accepted reality but is still unable to live with it…

  17. I feel like I'm brainwashed😵😵
    I can't gather my senses, now if someone says I'm crazy I wouldn't doubt that…
    WTH is going on…

  18. Or MAYBE, THEY WERE detectives and the surgeon brain washed his partner when he went missing to think he was a Dr. Thus giving the warden a strong piece of evidence that the main character IS a patient. Thus, forcing him to give in and get the lobotomy. Cause that old man in the warden's office seemed pretty found of the idea of murdering his patients for the sake of ritual. Kind of like the movie Get Out. The Coagular experiment or something.

  19. The ending is that be was on the island for 2 years it is implied when he says would you rather live a monster or die hero

  20. After watching this movie I still couldn't come to conclusion either director was in confusion how to end the movie or was he planning to go for part 2 or he wants audience to meet a psychiatrist

  21. The way I see the movie is that both Chuck and Teddy are slowly going insane. What the workers on the island have been telling him was all planned to fit the bosses story of Teddy actually being Andrew. They could have believed that if Teddy thought he was Andrew, he would stop destroying things, attacking patients, workers, ect. Because if they still had Teddy and Chuck on the island, they could capture them and do more experiments on them both.

    Notice how in the movie all of the patients are are wearing chains in their legs? Teddy was never wearing any, and even when Chuck wasn’t around, there were no chains in sight.

    Why would they let teddy stay roaming the island without supervision or chains? He so easily could’ve gotten himself hurt. Notice how when Chuck and Teddy’s clothes were all wet, how the guy mentions that there was only one brand of smokes on the island? But then later when Teddy was planning to explode the car, there was a different brand of smokes. The filled the main smokes with something so they start hallucinating, but because they don’t want the workers hallucinating, they have normal smokes.

  22. This video confuses me even more. You are overanalyzing this movie. The story was clear, Michelle William’s character drowned their 3 children at the lake & Leo’s character DID shot his wife, and that makes Leo’s character can never accept the truth that he shot his wife, and his character starts making up story about how he’s a detective and stuffs

  23. Teddy accepted the fact that he killed people in the army for no good reason so why the damn he has cut on his face!The women in the cave told about the drugs that he is taking from starting!

  24. How can someone say they completely get the whole movie when the own filmmakers say they don't want u to get it they want to keep u guessing

  25. He accepted what happened….he decided not to live with it. This was his out. Not that hard to understand…

  26. What i find most confusing was the name they are replacing Teddy and Edward in the ending scene.
    After looking in second time it becomes quite clear. Andrew Laeddis is in island since two years. His wife who was depressed set fire in city apartment. Then they move near lake where she kills their children and he kills her as shown in last scene. then he create teddy/edward persona and accused Andrew Laeddis (his real self) of arsoning his(teddy) house and killing his wife. when confronted by cell inmate George Noyce that he is Laeddis he became violent. Board of overseers decide to lobotomise him. Dr Sheehan and Cawley and tries to save him by playing role in his fantasy and try to make him realise how absurd it is in end scene. He keeps hallucinating (explanation for cave scene or where he see Chuck's body). In the end he comes back to real identity but pretends not to as he don't want live with his violent and painful memories.

  27. I think that they are faking everything. Teddy and Chuck are their actual names but they are playing along undercover as Lawddis and dr Sheehan. They are doing this to expose the truth of shutter island. Cawley said that this was his big breakthrough and the board would shut him down if this didn’t work. So teddy made sure it worked by playing into his game so the place would stay open for longer. This would give them time to expose shutter island. Chuck says do you think they are onto us. They are role playing. The whole story is falsified and there is no info on laeddis at all. They work for the government so they could easily fib up a story to get into the prison

  28. I think that when it was revealed that his make belief reality was actually false and not at all real, both his fake and actual reality clashed in his mind. Teddy was left confused. In the end, Teddy gradually went back to believing that he was a Marshal once again. The doctor said they originally had a breakthrough, but Teddy went only and regressed back to his false reality. The doctors then tried again but do this elaborate scheme of playing along with Teddy's fantasy. In my opinion, I think that Teddy at the end was slowly regressing into his false reality until he eventually goes back fully deep into it. I think this because I believe Teddy partly knew he was crazy in that moment at the end and that's why he willingly got up to be lobotomised. If he was given more time to live then he would eventually fall far back into his false reality. Essentially what I'm trying to say is that during the end scene Teddy was not fully 100% engulfed in his false reality, but like 50% because he acknowledged Chuck as his partner and not doctor, yet he sort of knew he should be lobotomised.

  29. What if I say that the the whole thing was true and he was in fact Edward(Teddy) who came in Shutter Island for investigation with Chuck(who was with the brain surgery team from the very beginning and was assigned with Edward from the first, to suppress him from leaking about what they all has been doing together on the island) and in the end he had to falsely accept(because their were no other choices for him to get out of island all alone) all the lie things that they were telling him in hope of making them believe that their medication of making Edward a mental person worked, and the final scene shows that he is real Edward and Dr Sheen(in disguise with Edward as Chuck in the beginning) understands that he is completely okay with his mind and with the last dialogue he kind of gives up from this bad world or bad deed that people are doing nowadays and die with goodness because he was helpless and wouldn't be able to get out of island all by himself, and with the last word as "Teddy" (Edward) by Dr Sheen(in disguise as Chuck at first) understands that and calls him by his real name Teddy (Edward). Their he agrees to do the brain surgery and the doctors there were successful in suppressing Edward from leaking the information about what was really happening on shutter island to the world, and continue their brutal experiments and brain surgeries with the mental criminals there.

    I would love to know if anyone understands this, or if there is any mistakes in my understanding.(I kind of get all the other possible realities when I checked on the internet but this is what convinced right then when i was finished watching the movie first and only time). Thank you!

  30. His crime was awful because although he only shot his wife, he blames himself for his children’s death because he didn’t get his wife help, it is this that is hard to forget

  31. Don’t need to see it 100 times. Once u seen the twist it’s done. It is brilliant though. A second watch would serve well to notice more clues.

  32. the end simply means that he accepted the reality, but wanted to drown again willingnessly because there was nothing left in reality.. in reality he was a monster, his life completely ruined and he is a criminal..
    but in his imagination, he is a hero. a marshal.. so he CHOOSED to live in imagination.. it was not that he passed through a mental breakdown. instead, he choosed it.

  33. His obsession with matches is symbolically because it's the opposite of water, which reminds him of the truth and his wife / kids who drowned. Throughout the film water repulses him and makes him ill while in contrast fire is always associated with his delusions. It's a visual metaphor, it doesn't mean he burnt his wife, hth.

  34. The ending was quite obvious imo. after he said something along the lines of "living as a monster or dying as a good man" it just showed that he knew what he was doing

  35. she did tell him to RUN in that note I honestly believe they were simply successful in brainwashing him in the end 😀

  36. I think that he pretends to relapse back into teddy, he remembers he is actually Andrew laiddis, and in reality, he cannot accept that he murdered his wife so he chooses to take the lobotomy as atleast he won't have to live out the rest of his life with the guilt of murdering his wife. Anyone agree?

  37. There's something i don't understand about this film: why Andrew Laeddis was sent there? I would understand if the authorities thought that he killed his children, but otherwise, i don't get it.

  38. Was I mentally ill too?
    This movie even makes you doubt about your "mental health"
    Psychology game just won

  39. For God sake enlighten me plz..who's real? Teddy coming in a ship for investigation or Andrew who killed wife?

  40. Did noone hear teddy's partner say boss two times in the movie……thats the proff that he was being played all along

  41. Okay think about it like this right, so remember in the beginning when they were looking for Rachael Solando right. And they said she couldn’t have possibly escaped. We saw two Rachaels. It’s that way with Andrews character except we didn’t see the other Andrew. We only saw one that time. Honestly they had to have made him out to be “crazy” to keep capturing more and more patients. Even the Rachael teddy found was telling him that the stuff they were giving him was making him worse and worse

  42. Stupid and without story logic they could have let him live out his life as a detective he'd be happy and healthy that way. No need to lobotomize him and destroy him.

  43. ok..ok I believe that Leo was mad! So far I was convincing myself that he was just very smart.. but I believe that he was mad

  44. For all we know, these people have fucked our minds up. Some are saying that he knows that he is andrew but deliberately denies it and agrees to a lobotomy. But others are saying that the island convinces people that they are insane and that maybe he is actually teddy itself. It's kinda sad that we don't know for sure which one it is.

  45. The genius of the writing is that there are simultaneous narratives for people to swing upon. some watch it on one level, another, the other level. But throughout the film, we are able to consider the other narrative. This was a great movie!!

  46. I have watched this movie over and over again and i understood each and every scene but there's one dialogue that confuses me with the whole concept. When Dr.Cawley asks andrew "why did you made them up" he replies "i couldn't take that she murdered our children. I killed them bcoz i can't get her help, i killed them" anyone explain me what did he meant by this? Was he the one who killed them all? And for what he needed dolores' help?

  47. Here's a thing right there is nothing to explain here there are two endings to this and its on every single person in this world to decide which ending they want its on them to imagine that and that is the purpose of this ending if u think he was in fact the detective and was made into believing he is a patient then that's ur view that's ur true ending and if u think he actually was just a patient playing detective then that's it for the ending for u that's the whole point of that ending

  48. I disagree that Andrew knew what he was doing in the end & decided to get an lobotomy because that was an easy way out. It feels like that out so out of character for him. He isn't a quitter in any shape. I believe what he said about living as a monster at the end was simply a brief moment of clarity & is beyond saving. I think this is my favourite movie of all time! Thanks for the video!

  49. I always thought they made him crazy to get him off the tail of the experiments they were doing on patients like the lady in the cave said, why would that even be mentioned if the whole thing was meant to be some sort of play for Teddy?

  50. At the end, leo said that it is better to die as a good man than live as a monster.That means leo actually remembered all his past but he knew that people outside would treate him as murderer who kill his family,that's why he decided to live in the mental hospital.This is the only complex part of the movie

  51. The only thing you NEED to understand is that Rachel in the cave was a hallucination. Thats the key THE KEY to understand that this movie is a masterpiece.
    If that "Rachel" in the cave was indeed "real" than the island is creating "zombies" in their firetower… what is being proved unreal later on. I know it's hard to believe and i wished personally the outcome would be different but it really is the sad truth. Teddy is Andrew. The thing with the last line of the movie is he is asking "Chuck" if he should accept this outcome as Teddy or as Andrew. Because he knows that if he i deed is Andrew he should be lobotimised wich he sadly is.
    I know mindfucked.

  52. This movie is easy to explain. Teddy was really Andrew and they faked this whole incident for him to help him. For the ones who are saying no mental hospital will do this for a patient : true but then we will not have this movie. At the end Andrew knows well he was really mentally ill and there are two reasons why he chose to get lobotomized : 1. Dont wanted to live his life after everything has happened to him 2. He knows he might start it over in time with this Marshal crap as the doctor said he did 9 months ago.
    But the strongest hint what shows this was a setup from the beginning is when they arrive on the island. If two real marshals would had arrived on the island there would be not this high number of guards, all surrounding them with weapons draw and ready.

  53. All the arguments about the fact that he is crazy crash into 3 impenetrable arguments proving that he is not crazy:

    1. According to history, this is the 50s in the USA, why for the sake of 1 psycho who killed his family to arrange such a performance with the participation of the guard, all staff, the boat and patients? Well, he would be the son of the president …. But he is an ordinary person . Wouldn’t it be easier to put it into consumption or to bring the vegetable to the state of the tablets ?! The answer is obvious.

    2. How to explain that record of the patient (“run”) if she knew that this was all a representation and an experiment. Why would she intrigue and tug a psycho killer with her notes ?? The answer is obvious.

    3. The last frames of the picture clearly show and give us a lighthouse, on which "supposedly nothing is happening." Why show it, all the more outlining such alarming music ?? The answer is obvious.

    By the way, in addition, I add that the last phrase of di caprio: "Live a sa monster or die as a good man," can also be interpreted in two ways. On the one hand, he seems to be asking this question to himself (the psycho version), and on the other hand, you can take it in a straightforward way, like referring to a "fake partner" (meaning: "I, am, di-caprio, will die as a good man, but you’re a ruffalo, you will be forced to live as a monster "(plot version)).

  54. I really think that he is the U.S marchall and all the others try to make him crazy for not telling the truth
    And the line at the end has 2 meanings for me
    First, living knowing the truth looks like cooperating with them to him and second living in the lie that they put him either way he is a bad man
    So he prefer to die
    Something is wrong about the "real theory"
    The woman that tell him to run after the other "cop" leaves
    The paper that he found seems to be there to be found by him in purpose
    The faces of the doctors are really bad for beingg good
    And other stuff

  55. I think he was actually a cop and since he found out all there dirty secrets they brainwashed him into thinking he was actually a patient

  56. No one is talking about Rachel, the real Rachel in the cave who was a victim too all she said to teddy was the truth

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