In a nutshell: The end of the world as he knows it

Popcorn rating: 4/5

Curtis LaForche is haunted by visions of apocalypse. The devoted father and husband (Michael Shannon) is plagued by nightmares which seem so real to him, they cause him to question his sanity. As the viewer, this proves to be an immersive but troubling experience as you feel yourself sinking down the rabbit hole with him.

Don’t expect any fire and brimstone here though. Curtis’s visions prove terrifying simply because they are feasible. He sees hurricanes, tornadoes and birds falling out of the sky and, as this external danger gets ever closer, those closest turn against him in his dreams.

Curtis is a proud man and when professional help fails to hit the mark, he renovates his storm shelter to protect his family from what he perceives to be the end of the world. In doing so he ends up alienating everyone around him including his best friend, brother, boss, patient but frustrated wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain) and even his dog. This is small town America where your standing in community is everything and, as you can imagine, sparks soon begin to fly.

Much praise has been heaped on Michael Shannon (last seen in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) and he deserves every bit of it. His ability to show great anguish without saying a word is amazing.

Take Shelter is also slightly reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island with both featuring a very intimate take on someone losing their mind.

Many have equated director Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter as a portrayal of the modern American psyche but in truth anyone can relate to this. It could also be seen in terms of a metaphor for the state of economy. Who hasn’t wanted to batten down the hatches during the credit crunch?

Put simply, Take Shelter is an accomplishment in terms of reminding you of the pure power of cinema to evoke feelings, from empathy to dread. And the final scene is suitably open-ended which keeps you thinking long after the credits roll.

Reviewer: DavidMorgan

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Comments
  1. curlyshirley says:

    I just watched Revolutionary Road and Michael Shannon is excellent in it as the son of a local busybody. He is a troubled character, but cuts a very clear picture of the truth in his ramblings. Very underrated actor.

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