Curtis, a father and husband, is starting to experience bad dreams and hallucinations. Assuming mental illness, he seeks medical help and counseling. However, fearing the worst, he starts building an elaborate and expensive storm shelter in their backyard. This storm shelter threatens to tear apart his family, threatens his sanity and his standing in the community, but he builds it to save his family's life. Written by
Intelligent, nicely shot film with great lead from Shannon
Take Shelter is an intelligent, thought provoking, nicely shot film featuring an excellent performance by Michael Shannon (an Oscar nomination, surely?), who was also great in director Nichols' previous/first film, Shotgun Stories. The film explores the line between fear and paranoia, or objectivity and subjectivity, as it's protagonist - a blue-collar family man of few words - wrestles with apocalyptic dreams and visions of a strange, possibly supernatural storm, responding to them as best he can as both literal warnings AND possible signs of mental illness. The film has a brooding, at times Hitchcockian atmosphere and a very timely feel to it (think financial and environmental disasters). Set in a rural community, we have plenty of lovely wide shots of the land- and sky-scape (also a strong element of Shotgun Stories) with some added CGI on the latter for the dream/visions. Shannon's performance constitutes at least 50% of this films worth but the rest of the cast are good too. It's a slow mover and, at around two hours and fifteen minutes, perhaps a bit too long. My wife and I did have a few criticisms after watching it (at the Sydney Film Festival), but I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from seeing this film, which will no doubt be a hot topic and bring Nichols deserved recognition when it goes on general release (September 30 2011 in US)
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