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Take Shelter
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Take Shelter More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Suspenseful and engaging viewing

Author: Joe Maguire from Kilkenny, Ireland.
9 December 2012

Right from the off, Take Shelter is an atmospheric experience with long steady shots, sparse dialogue and a musical background that is constantly a step ahead of the visuals building a sense of impending disaster. The general mood of foreboding and unease generated by the style and direction is what makes this movie. I'm not sure I can put my finger on exactly why, but I couldn't shake the feeling throughout that this had a lot in common with Donnie Darko.

Michael Shannon is superb as Curtis, an average family man who has the good life but begins to come apart at the seams as we meet him at the beginning of the movie. Is he going mad, or is he having real premonitions of a terrible disaster that will destroy everything? He plays 'unhinged' brilliantly, and is well supported by Jessica Chastain as the wife who is trying to keep him together.

If I have a criticism of this movie it's the length. Although it never lost my attention, two hours was pushing it a little, and the is-it-real-or-is-it-a-nightmare sequences got a bit jaded in the middle section. A 100 minute directors cut would make all the difference.

All in all though, this was captivating and engaging, and definitely recommended viewing.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Unspeakable dread

Author: elemental-5 from South Africa
14 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is a masterpiece. Michael Shannon's acting is superb. All of the acting is. Everything about this film is real. So very dark. The slow building of some terrifying menace is incredibly palpable. So palpable in fact that I could only watch the first half an hour. I relied on my partner's retelling to find out what happened. I managed to watch the last five minutes. A person's descent into paranoid madness is awful to witness and when the paranoia proves to be a premonition it is all the more appalling. I wish I could watch the whole film but it simply is too real for me to deal with. This is what true and brilliant cinematic story telling is all about. Try not to wimp out like I did.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Movie for Our Anxious Times

Author: evanston_dad from United States
1 May 2012

"Take Shelter" succeeds in communicating an overall tone to its audience, but the film as a whole is better than any one scene that makes up its parts.

It's a movie about the dread of living and waiting for something unknown to happen, a luxury only those who have mostly comfortable, content lives can afford. Michael Shannon plays a family man who's so frightened of the paranoid schizophrenia that landed his mother in an assisted living facility that he brings it on himself in a self-fulfilling prophecy. His particular fear is externalized as a devastating storm that will destroy his home and family. But you could substitute any fear in its place and you'd still have a movie for our unsettled, anxious times.

"Take Shelter" is a pretty good movie, and it's unsettling in a satisfying way, but it's also a bit overly metaphorical and a little too satisfied with its sense of importance. There's an overly formal air to the film, and other things, like plot logic, individual characters' actions, etc., suffer because of it. But I would certainly recommend it -- it's far more compelling than two-thirds of anything else that's hit movie screens in the past year or so.

Jessica Chastain plays Shannon's wife, and while she's a lovely actress, I wasn't convinced by much of anything her character did, because of the way she's written rather than because of the way Chastain acts the part. And Michael Shannon is good as always as a man losing it, but he seriously needs to make a comedy.

Grade: A-

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A very good film

Author: Pat Choi from South Korea
8 April 2012

There are two sorts of movies in the world of films. One is what we can predict the plot and the other is what we cannot. To me, "Take shelter" is at the latter side. And when the movie I watch is at that side, it gets a "Thing" to me. I mean, that is not just about the ending, but the objective of story teller as well. What is the teller to say with this film at all?? Some could take this movie as narrative about an insane man. But I do not believe Curtis is insane. He really presumed a disaster. But I do not think this film is about "Sixth sense" or "Super intelligence". This movie is incessantly telling about disconnection of human beings. Curtis does not get ANY person to help him literally. Now that he makes a shelter, no one believes him as normal man.. At the ending part, a great storm really comes and the film is at the peak. Background music was very little all during the running time but only at the moment, the movie spits a very drastic music to finish the movie.

I think Curtis is NOT mad. He really foresaw something.

I really enjoyed this unpredictable film. Wonderful.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: theneilrules from Udaipur, India
27 March 2012

Just finished this movie and I have absolutely no words to describe it. Michael Shannon's apprehensive performance has stolen the show. His character's torrid intimidation towards his own situation and reluctance in sharing his feelings with his wife has been displayed flawlessly by Shannon. Also, Jessica Chastain is transforming into a wonderful actress. I saw her in The Tree of Life as well as The Debt and her performances in both of them have been great. Not to mention, Jeff Nichols has earned himself quite a reputation in directing this masterpiece and this is truly a masterpiece.

Now about the movie, a young married man in his early 30's starts having an unshakable premonition about a storm which will destroy everything, especially his loving family. His relentless pursuit of safeguarding his wife and daughter makes him to perform deeds with single-minded determination. He has to build a shelter, he has to fulfill his duties as a husband and a father. Although he experiences unpleasant nightmares and thinks of himself as a mental patient, he still doesn't give up his purport. His young wife endures everything she can, despite the health stipulation of their little daughter and even helps to out ride her husband's extreme behavioral imbalance. The chemistry between the two is magnificent.

You should definitely see this movie if you haven't. This is a great piece of work in every format - acting, directing and storytelling.

Its Perfect!


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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The ending ruins the whole movie

Author: hudsonda4 from United States
12 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review is going to tell what happens at the end of the movie, so beware.

The entire concept of the movie is great and has wonderful actors. Everything is done right. Right up until the end of the movie.

This is the big spoiler: The family is only in danger because the main character had the visions that made him build a storm shelter. If he had just ignored it all and kept on he wouldn't have lost his job, took out a loan to build a storm shelter, went to a shrink, and then taken his family directly into the path of danger. Away from his storm shelter by the way.


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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Apocalyptic brilliance...

Author: rossini-1868 from United States
29 August 2013

One of the best end-of-the-world type stories you'll ever see. With the steady stream of apocalyptic nonsense pouring out of Hollywoood these days, this movie was a breath of stormy fresh air. Beautiful, realistic performances and characterizations, totally grounded in reality, the movie is a revelation about spousal love and loyalty, the hypocrisy of so-called friends and neighbors-- and the complacent, self-righteous façade we often hide behind in the name of sanity. One of the few movies you've never seen before that you will definitely want to see again. If only M. Night Shyamalan's career had gone in this direction...

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Don't take shelter from this one! You might regret it

Author: Maz Murdoch (asda-man) from United Kingdom
23 January 2013

There was something about Take Shelter that urged me to see it. The whole idea of whether a man is losing his mind, or is actually for-seeing something dreadful is very attractive to me. I'm into ambiguous films with multiple meanings and this seemed like a good premise. The more I watched the trailer, the more it urged me to go and buy the film because it kept looking better by the minute, I was also incredibly anxious to see the ending. Well... As you can tell by my score Take Shelter did certainly not disappoint. In fact it provoked quite a strong emotional reaction from me and I'm surprised at how much talk this film is not getting. It should've definitely been up for a few Oscars (*cough* best actor *cough* *cough*) and it wouldn't surprise me if this film later becomes a cult classic in the vein of The Wicker Man or The Rocky Horror Picture Show (both were flops on release, but are now considered timeless.)

Now I have to address the elephant in the room that is that people are complaining that Take Shelter is slow. Painfully slow. So slow that it's boring and snooze-inducing. Now I fail to sympathise with this point of view but my family didn't. When one of the most powerful films I'd witnessed finished, the people around me (my family) proclaimed it as 'very slow' and 'nothing happened!' and 'I had a nap half-way through it!' However, I can kind of understand this reaction because the film is undeniably slow-paced but by no means does that mean it's a bad thing. The word 'slow' gets a bad reaction from people (me often included) but let's not forget those fantastic 'slow' films. Imagine if Audition got into the action 10 minutes in. It would not have the same effect and we wouldn't be hailing it as a classic today.

You simply need a good attention span for Take Shelter. You need to care about the characters and actually listen to what they're saying. I found some of the most 'talkiest' scenes to be some of the most gripping, I shan't list examples because I don't wish to spoil it for others. It also helps if you have an interest in mental illness and schizophrenia is a particular disorder which fascinates me, thus I found myself fixated throughout its entire 1hr 50. I found myself becoming incredibly involved with the characters and their position. Curtis is such a tragic character because he's such a simple (not in a nasty way) and ordinary man, who does not deserve the descent into madness he is given. I thought he was a captivating character and Michael Shannon's performance certainly helped!

The acting in this film is top-notch. It surprises me greatly that Michael Shannon was not nominated for an Oscar (the film's probably too edgy for Oscar noms, I'm surprised Black Swan was nominated for so many, but unsurprised that it won so few *grumble*) his performance is horribly realistic and I really felt for his characters. There are moments that almost induced tears from me, which few films are able to do. His subtle going round the twist gives the film a realistic edge and makes it all the more gripping. The scene where he completely loses it is so powerful and purposely awkward.

The screenplay's realism is quite fabulous. The dream sequences do pack a punch and it helps us to get into Curtis' mind. Although I was under the impression that this was the type of film that you didn't know what was real and what was in his head, for me the film was quite obviously about a man developing paranoid schizophrenia and it was all the more captivating for it. The ending certainly throws a spanner in the works and only heightens my respect for the film as it gives the audience ambiguity, allowing them to make up their own minds and form their own interpretations. The directing and cinematography were also both outstanding, there are some truly memorable images that create a lasting impact on you way after the credits roll (it's almost been 24 hours and I still haven't completely stopped thinking about it).

You needn't Take Shelter from a film like Take Shelter. It's a quiet film with a wonderful atmosphere of dread. Its realism adds such power and I found myself compelled. The final 20 minutes (or so) are incredibly suspenseful and almost heat-stopping. There are times where I wanted to cry out for Curtis. I also have to mention the fantastic score. It was subtle yet summed the film up perfectly and was almost chills inducing (actually I'm pretty sure I had a couple of chills). Take Shelter may look like an under-rated film that no one's heard of now, but hopefully in a decade or two, we'll be looking back on this film wondering how we all missed it! It's superb.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

***1/2 Superbly-acted character study as thriller with a TOWERING performance by MICHAEL SHANNON !

Author: rayruggeri from United States
18 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the most compelling character studies with some of the best acting I've seen in many years of movie-going. The writer/director, John Nichols,seamlessly and subtly mixes several genres and creates a riveting family drama and psychological thriller about one man's slow, shattering descent into madness.

Michael Shannon portrays Curtis, a hard-working family man who slowly unravels because of his nightmarish dreams and his overpowering feelings of a coming apocalypse. Though he's stressed about money, his job, his wife, exquisitely acted by Jessica Chastain, his handicapped daughter, a lovely Tova Stewart, he decides to build a bigger fallout shelter in his backyard to prepare for what he believes is the beginning of the end. We learn that Shannon's character also has a family history of mental illness.

Are Curtis's visions actually prophesies of something terrible to come or developing signs of paranoid schizophrenia? One of the film's many strengths is that the audience is never totally sure. The film's ending, which many on this site found tacked on and pointless is as brilliant and subtle as the rest of the film. This is not a shallow Hollywood movie where the writer, director and actors spoon feed the audience.

I can't praise enough the vividly-etched portrayals by Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, and the majority of the small roles. The acting, writing, directing, cinematography are all superb. Director Nichols sustains a creepy atmosphere that holds you in its grip until it moves inexorably to its stunning and provocative conclusion. "Take Shelter" is a unique vision that challenges its audience. It will surely spark intelligent, mindful discussion for many rewarded viewers long after the film is over.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A sense throughout that something is very, very wrong

Author: bob-790-196018 from United States
11 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a damn good movie. At one point I found myself checking the DVD player to see how much time had elapsed, in hopes that there remained a lot more of the film to see. The story was that involving, and the characters were that credible.

Beginning with an introduction to an ordinary man, his loving wife, and their sweet little deaf daughter, the movie quickly moves on to a series of apocalyptic nightmares and daytime visions that are suddenly experienced by the man, Curtis, an Ohio construction worker. His terror mounts as he tries to determine whether he is going mad or having real premonitions of a disaster to come, one that no one else seems even slightly capable of imagining. We watch as Curtis's obsession with these visions leads him into bizarre behavior, disrupts his family life and friendships, and costs him his job.

There is a scene at a Lions club dinner--a most ordinary and comfortable event in the life of the community--in which Curtis finally reveals his terrors publicly, raging before his unknowing friends and neighbors like a prophet. It is a stunning moment.

The writing and direction by Jeff Nichols are excellent, as are the performances by Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain.

To say here whether Curtis is truly mad or truly prescient would be the worst of all spoiler alerts. What I can say is that throughout this movie I had a mounting sense of unease and foreboding.

This is one of a number of recent apocalyptic films. Is there a gathering sense of foreboding that is generating such movies? Is our anxiety about, say, global warming taking symbolic form in stories about the end of the world? I can't say. But in "Take Shelter" there is an omnipresent sense that something is very, very wrong.

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