Director: Jeff Nichols
Stars: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.
Take Shelter Movie Poster
Take Shelter Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.
Take Shelter Trailer 2 for Take Shelter
Another divisive film from Sundance 2011, Shelter also marks writer-director Jeff Nichols’s reunion with his Shotgun Stories star, Michael Shannon. Shannon’s work is typically commanding, as is Jessica Chastain’s performance as his worried/disbelieving wife. (Wow, I’ve just realized that Ms. Chastain is quietly put together a knockout series of roles this year. Total Indie Spirit Award in her future?) I recommend letting this film linger on your palette for a while; though it’s a bit thematically heavy-handed, the story idea is as strong as the acting. And the film looks gorgeous.
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).
Release Date: 30 September 2011 (USA)