15 September 2013

Take Shelter

Take Shelter 2011
  • Director: Jeff Nichols
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart, Shea Wigham, Katy Mixon, Robert Longstreet, Kathy Baker
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Michael Shannon – The Runaways, Eight Mile, Vanilla Sky, Groundhog Day
    • Jessica Chastain – The Help
    • Robert Longstreet – Undertow, the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
    • Kathy Baker  Last Chance Harvey, The Jane Austen Book Club, Cold Mountain, The Glass House, Cider House Rules, To Gillian on Her Thirty-Seventh Birthday, Edward Scissorhands, The Right Stuff
  • Why? Sounded good. Good reviews.
  • Seen: September 8, 2013

      Is he hallucinating, heading up the same path as his paranoid schizophrenic mother, hospitalized these past twenty years? Or is he seeing the future, the dreadful storm to come?
This is not your run of the mill thriller/disaster film. Far from it.  It’s thoughtful, carefully crafted, seriously and well acted.  And painful to watch.
Curtis and Samantha live quite an ordinary Midwestern American life. He’s a construction worker.  She’s a seamstress working from home. They have a little girl who’s deaf and they’re hoping for an operation for her.
He starts having nightmares. Very real, terrifying nightmares of tornadoes, mad dogs, murderous friends. Has he inherited his mother’s tragic madness? He seeks help but he can’t really afford it.  This and the glimpses into the medical insurance system in the US add an extra somber note to an already heavy movie.
He spends money the family doesn’t have to build an elaborate tornado shelter.  He alienates his friends and his family. Is he mad? Or is the storm really coming?  The tornadoes, the downpours of thick, oily rain?
The tension builds up slowly. We see inside his mind, we see him as others see him.  It’s hard to watch and it creeps in under your skin.
Whatever you expect at the end, it comes as a surprise.

3 ½ * of 5

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