In a Thriller mindlessness is invaluable. A mindless character will do anything without thought or consideration for others. Even if the character has to feign insanity, he or she will carry out a designed program. Take the film “Shutter Island” as an example.
Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the movie as the main character, Teddy Daniels, who is a widower and U S Marshal. Also starring are Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Max von Sydow. Teddy is with his new partner Chuck Aule (Ruffalo) on a ferry boat to Shutter Island when the story begins. They are going to Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the disappearance of a patient. The suspense begins when Teddy discovers that there is no way the patient could have escaped a locked cell under constant supervision. We learn the patient is there because she killed her children. As the story continues we soon discover that everything is not as it seems. Insanity is running rampant and the climax is a twist on mindlessness. We are left at the end wondering just who is crazy. This film was adapted from the novel of the same name written by Dennis Lehane.
In the novel, “Shutter Island” the author used a mindless character in a terrible situation to illustrate how such a character can create the suspense to keep a reader turning the page in a thriller. The reader continues to read, not knowing what to suspect and in the end he or she is left to create their own ending. In other words, the reader has to use his or her own astuteness to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. I loved this story! It has everything needed to make it a best thriller novel. And an interestingly suspenseful thriller movie.
In “A Moving Screen” the mindless character is Michael. Michael is a serial killer who seems completely rational. As the reader turns the pages, he or she discovers that Michael has put a lot of thought into what he does. He is a killer with a purpose and a plan. It’s just that the reader doesn’t know the plan until the end of the novel, when astuteness is once again called for. “A Moving Screen” has everything needed to rank it among the best thriller novels. In the best thriller movies mindlessness trumps astuteness in a character.