Alright, our next film unlike FOOTLOOSE is one of the most intriguing movies I’ve seen in a while. It’s called TAKE SHELTER, and it stars Michael Shannon as Curtis, an Ohio construction worker who begins having nightmares and visions about an impending, apocalyptic thunderstorm.
Curtis has a family history of mental illness, and while he wants to seek treatment, he also wants to keep his problems a secret from his wife and friends. Soon, though, he starts having trouble separating his real life from his hallucinations, and finds himself spending more and more time working on the tornado shelter in his backyard.
TAKE SHELTER was written and directed by Jeff Nichols, a young filmmaker whose first film, SHOTGUN STORIES, also starred Michael Shannon. The role of Curtis in this film is a perfect fit for Shannon’s intense and slightly unhinged screen persona. Whether you look at TAKE SHELTER as a family drama or a psychological horror film—and it works equally well as both—this is intelligent, deeply-felt filmmaking, the kind that I frankly wouldn’t mind seeing more of. I mean this is a big thumbs up from me.
CHRISTY: Huge thumbs up for me as well we will agree on this one. Um, it is shot so beautifully. The first thing you notice are the skies, and they are either huge and blue and vast or they are really dark and ominous but they’re so expressive, and they pretend so much. Michael Shannon I agree is excellent here, and this is an excellent fit for all of that kind of coiled, kind of mysterious something that’s going on. It’s danger. It’s rage. It’s something going on.
IGNATIY: Well, there’s, yeah there’s always something slightly off about Shannon, you know. He’s just a little bit too tall. He…he talks just a little bit too slowly, you know, one of his eyes is just slightly pointed in a different direction, and because of that he always fits very awkwardly into the pattern of other films. And sometimes that can be used to really great effect.
CHRISTY: Yeah…But here he feels like a real person all the time because he’s like a stoic, hard-working middleclass Midwestern guy, and yet, there is this subconscious thing that’s going on, and you know these are dreams. You know he’s going to wake up.
IGNATIY: And he knows…he knows they are dreams as well.
CHRISTY: Right..but when we’re watching them, they are so vivid and so beautifully detailed, and so intense that we are as startled watching them as he is when he wakes up from them.
IGNATIY: And just as he…he knows that they’re dreams he still has a hard time letting go of them. I mean the film, I think, is very…it’s very attuned to his mindset, but at the same time there’s nothing really ostentatious about it. It’s in fact a, at least to me, it’s an often very reserved looking film.
IGNATIY: And that’s kind of part of it’s beauty.
CHRISTY: And Jessica Chastain we’ll mention real fast is excellent in her role. It could have been just a quiet, supportive role. She finds great subtlety in it, and great grace, so this is an excellent, excellent film.