Cast: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain.
Writer and Director: Jeff Nichols
***'s out of four.
"Just Because you're paranoid. Don't mean they're not after you." Kurt Cobain
Curtis (Michael Shannon) believes strongly that a huge storm is approaching and will destroy everything on a massive level. Rain from the sky begins to look like motor oil, multiple tornadoes are forming, and huge flocks of birds begin to navigate in weird patterns. He also has a history of mental illness and his visions may be from having paranoid schizophrenia. Than again the same thing was probably said about Noah while he made his ark.
"Take Shelter" is both a drama about someone who may have a social disease and a cool science fiction disaster type film. I liked it because my perceptions about Curtis changes throughout the film. One moment I think he's fucking nuts. Other times I think maybe he does know something the rest of us don't. Michael Shannon delivers a great performance because he made me want to belive him. Despite all the realistic doubt from all the other characters. he had me intriged to see what will happen next.
(Clip from "Take Shelter" Embed Code Curtosey movieclips.com)
The main character in a way reminds me a lot of Roy Neary(Richard Dreyfuss) from "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind." In both movies you have a man who is obsessed by an image and how that obsession can break apart a family. The big difference between the two movies is that Curtis' wife Samantha(Jessica Chastain) and daughter never leave. There are several moments where she should leave and the fact she doesn't is incredibly brave. Seeing this whole family stay together while someone may be going through a mental breakdown is one of the best examples of family and love put on screen.
Despite the wonderful performances from Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain and some great cinematography from Adam Stone. The film does tend to drag on a bit near the end. This could have easily been in 90 minutes by cutting back some of the visions that Curtis' sees. I'm pretty sure the audience gets that he can see things other people can't. Showing the same thing a bunch of times isn't going to change that. The ending still baffles me and will be different for each viewer. Some will hate it, others will love it, and if your like me. You will be totally confused, but that's a good thing because it makes me want to see this again. So I notice things I might have missed before.