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Take Shelter (2011)

Michael Shannon , Jessica Chastain , Jeff Nichols  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)

List Price: $19.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham, Tova Stewart, Katy Mixon
  • Directors: Jeff Nichols
  • Writers: Jeff Nichols
  • Producers: Adam Wilkins, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Chris Perot, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Colin Strause
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,085 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Take Shelter" on IMDb

Special Features

Commentary with Jeff Nichols & Michael Shannon
Behind the Scenes of Take Shelter
Q&A with Michael Shannon & Shea Whigham
Better Safe Than Sorry

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Following his acclaimed debut, Shotgun Stories, writer/director Jeff Nichols reteams with actor Michael Shannon to create a haunting tale that will creep under your skin and expose your darkest fears. Curtis LaForche lives in a small town in Ohio with his wife, Samantha, and daughter, Hannah, a six-year-old deaf girl. When Curtis begins to have terrifying dreams, he keeps the visions to himself, channeling his anxiety into obsessively building a storm shelter in his backyard. His seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns and confounds those closest to him, but the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within his community can’t compare with Curtis’s privately held fear of what his dreams may truly signify. Take Shelter features fully realized characters crumbling under the weight of real-life problems. Using tone and atmosphere to chilling effect, Nichols crafts a powerful psychological thriller that is a disturbing tale for our times.

The looming presence of Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) was made for a role like Curtis, the haunted protagonist of Take Shelter. On paper, Curtis would appear to be a normal mid-American husband and father; a construction manager, he has a wife (Jessica Chastain) and a hearing-impaired daughter, and a nice piece of land in tornado country. But, of course, he can't be entirely normal, because he's played by Michael Shannon. So, after suffering nightmares that gradually turn into waking hallucinations, Curtis becomes convinced that a great disaster is coming. His behavior, and his insistence on building out the storm shelter in the backyard, suggests he is either visionary or going out of his mind. This film by Shotgun Stories director Jeff Nichols is all eerie buildup, a series of ominous signs or concerned conversations. Because Shannon is such a formidable and uneasy presence, some of this is intriguing for a while (and Tree of Life star Chastain contributes her strong instincts to the marital scenes), but somehow by the end the whole thing feels more portentous than insightful, like a lofty take on an M. Night Shyamalan project but without Shyamalan's canny storytelling sense. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece March 8, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon have accomplished a portrait of paranoid schizophrenia which is the most accurate (to those who have known these sufferers) to date with the exception of a far bleaker film: Clean, Shaven (The Criterion Collection).

The difference here is that Nichols wants to show how deeply linked the hallucinations, dreams and daily disturbances of a schizophrenic are to daily reality, in particular to our global feeling that the next shoe might drop at any time. If anyone watching imagines that Curtis' behavior is unrealistic or that Shannon's natural ability to be eccentric and frightening are exaggerations of what these people (and their loved ones) go through, think again. Having worked with the homeless/mentally ill (unfortunately a lot of men and women like Curtis simply fall through the cracks) I have always made it a policy to keep apocalyptic material AWAY from them. The miracle Nichols pulls off here is to reflect so expertly what happens when these symptoms first start developing through Curtis' mind.

A blue collar construction worker and generally an average man (Officer Van Alden from Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season is absent here) Curtis has a wonderful wife (Jessica Chastain who resembles Mia Farrow to an almost disturbing degree) and a sweet little girl who is handicapped (Tova Stewart). His buddy on the construction site (Shea Wigham)is the first one to really notice that something's just not right with our man.
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Portrait in Courage December 19, 2011
"Take Shelter" is a movie about courage - not physical courage, which is so easy to film, but emotional courage, a much more difficult kind of courage. That we wonder if our protagonist is really courageous or just crazy adds dimension and depth as Michael Shannon and the rest of the ensemble confront choices and chances, trust and doubt, while trying to keep their precariously comfortable lives from toppling into an abyss.

Superb storytelling with an especially strong an subtle performance from Shannon.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tense, jolt of a movie March 7, 2012
****This review contains spoilers****

This movie is scary, and I can honestly say it shook me to the core. I'm chalking the 1-star reviews up to just mistaken expectations: this is NOT an action film, and it's not paced like an action film. If you expect that, prepare for disappointment. Sad to say, many people (myself included, at this point in the "review") confuse reviews for meandering expressions of baseless opinion. In the interest of injecting this review with some protein. I want to begin with a bit of an aside:

Why does it seem like everyone insists on assuming the climaxes in movies are dreams? Is this the Lost effect? The Inception effect? Isn't claiming it's all a dream merely a cheap fix for an ending that doesn't tie up neatly with our notion of endings?

This movie is about love and loss (of mental health, of family, of a way of life); it's about the epic Real that we cannot explain with our frames of reference but only with silence. It's also a movie about an event that does or doesn't happen. I'm going to discuss certain aspects of the film: the use of minor characters to develop and texture that of Curtis, the main characters, and the interplay between husband and wife during their vacation (the final scene).

Mental illness is capable of being an apocalypse. Specifically, mental illness and natural disaster take us outside of civilization and behavior. Acting along prescribed behavioral lines in both cases is either impossible and/or difficult and not what the situation calls for. We see Michael Shannon's character as someone who first plays it off, then attempts to reject it with modern medicine, and only finally embracing it. They will never understand, I imagined him thinking.
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51 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seer or Mentally Ill? February 12, 2012
There is a lot of food for thought in this movie. In prior times, a man like Curtis would not be assumed to be mentally ill. The fact that he is having visions would be respected by both the bible and in native folk lore as he would be seen as a possible prophet in their midst. Curtis's mother has been in long time care since she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. However, when we meet her, the question is really open as to her as well. We live in an age where science has decreed that things like portents, omens, seers, prophets and the like are impossible. That anyone who deals in this matter is just plain loco.

Curtis begins turning his storm shelter into more of an atomic bomb like shelter and runs into one person after another who is teed off at him, from his employer to his colleague to his wife. Yet he persists. What he sees is supported by reports which have been filed around catastrophes. For example, when tidal waves come in, birds do go crazy. They swarm and take off and some, in their hurry to get out, drop dead from the sky to the ground.

So the big question is whether Curtis is having a psychotic break with reality or if he is a seer who feels and sees a disaster coming. I know most people are going with the mental illness interpretation. Personally, I think since this this kind of person has been chronicled for thousands of years that it is possible that such a person could exist but does not want to broadcast his visions for precisely the reason that people will think he is insane.

Michael Shannon as Curtis and Jessica Chastain as his wife are both terrific.

One caution about this movie: it is very slow. If you are looking for a quick paced movie, this is not it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars THE MOVIE WAS AS BAD AS THE ACTOR'S
Published 19 days ago by Bob B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best movie I've seen in a long time
Best movie I've seen in a long time. Intense from beginning to end. Michael Shannon takes you right into the maw of madness - or does he? Read more
Published 23 days ago by Ultralite
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
fast delivery & good Deal, Thanks
Published 1 month ago by Trelar90
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
GREAT thought-provoking movie. Great acting, great plot, great effects.
Published 1 month ago by Debs
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly Entertaining
I watched it with my wife, son and his girlfriend and we all agreed it really wasn't a very good movie. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Thomas F. Seiter
5.0 out of 5 stars Adding this to my Favorites list
Adding this to my Favorites list. The plot can be slow at times, but Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon made this for me. Highly recommended.
Published 2 months ago by Fan007
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid film by top caliber artists and an overlooked powerhouse...
I feel that Michael Shannon was overlooked for an academy award nomination on this film. The pacing is slow, but dramatic. The story is absolutely original and well written. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jeremy
5.0 out of 5 stars well done!
Although unique and out of the norm for most, I do recommend this film. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, production quality, and most of all the brilliant acting by Michael... Read more
Published 2 months ago by jhendrix731
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
movie is a little too dark for my taste.
Published 2 months ago by kennedy yip
5.0 out of 5 stars Try it out
Pretty good movie. I really like the ending, it ends I a way that doesn't give you the definition. It allows your mind to wonder some.
Published 2 months ago by Kenneth
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