Take Shelter [Blu-ray]
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When Curtis (Michael Shannon) begins having nightmares of an encroaching, apocalyptic storm, he refrains from telling his wife, Samantha (Jessica Chastain). To protect her and their six-year-old deaf daughter Hannah, Curtis starts focusing his anxiety and money into the obsessive building of a storm shelter. While Hannah's healthcare and special needs education has resulted in financial struggle, Curtis' seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns Samantha and provokes intolerance among co-workers, friends and neighbors. However, the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within the community doesn't compare to Curtis' private fear of what his disturbing dreams may truly signify.
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
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I agree that this is a masterpiece, and that 4 stars is woefully short. One could bookend this movie with Jeff Nichols' latest, Midnight Special. See both and you'll understand why.
I also agree that this movie may not be for everyone. My dad, for instance, I am sure would not have made it beyond the fifteen minute mark. For if a movie doesn't begin with a car chase, a sex scene, or gunfire, his attention goes into sleep mode.
As for me, this movie activated so many inner storms! There was the cyclone of love and what it means to stick together, no matter what. The cyclone of the very fine veil between what is real and what is illusion. The cyclone of social conditioning and the pressure to align with the social web that surrounds us.
The beauty of this movie is its mystery. Its as if as the viewer, the hand of reason (mind) is gradually released and the one of family bond and love (heart) tightened and led forth. You start to feel for everyone involved. For the wife, who is doing her best. For the little daughter who is so cute that you cannot help but love her, and for the husband who wants nothing more than to protect that family that he loves so much.
Throughout the course, you are met with darkening clouds and lightning. Just as you don't know the severity of the storm that may be coming, you are never sure if the husband is experiencing the onset of mental illness or not. You don't know if what you are bracing for is real or not. You don't know if the beautiful family will stay in tact or be blown apart by the storms of the mind and heart.
It all leads to a very powerful point. A message the spiritual teachers and awakened beings have been pointing at from time immemorial. It has to do with the human condition and whether it has or ever had control.
This movie is cinematic poetry. I definitely appreciated my life, and those in it, so much more after watching it.
Top international reviews
I wasn't sure what to expect after reading reviews and even if I would enjoy it or make it through the film, but I was wrong, so wrong. It is utterly spell binding and a emotional roller coaster with an edge of ' what is coming next '. The acting was fantastic, the filming and the story was excellent. It may not be a new film but its the best film I have sat down to watch in 2017 so far.
Finely and engagingly directed by second-time American filmmaker Jeff Nichols, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated mostly from the protagonist`s point of view, draws a gripping portrayal of an ordinary man who is so certain that his town is going to be struck by a disaster that he becomes detached from his family. While notable for its naturalistic milieu depictions, fine cinematography by cinematographer Adam Stone and efficient use of sound, this character-driven, humane, atmospheric and foreboding mystery depicts an incisive study of character and a compassionate love-story.
This invariably intriguing and cogently narrated psychological drama about a man`s unsettling premonitions and the way they affect his personality and his relations with other people, is impelled and reinforced by its commendable and involving acting performances by American actor Michael Shannon, American actress Jessica Chastain and the fine supporting acting performances by American actor Shia Whigham and Tova Stewart in her debut feature film role. A compelling and mindful independent film which gained, among numerous other awards, the International Critics` Week Grand Prix, the Prix SACD and the FIPRESCI Prize in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 64th Cannes Film Festival in 2011.
It is intriguing and slow-paced and will not suit those whose only idea of a 'good' film is something with lots of explosions, car chases and shoot-outs. It's not that sort of film.
I wouldn't call it horror either, or even terror. Perhaps it best fits the category of 'psychological drama'.
I thought the acting was good. Michael Shannon plays an excellent role as the (possibly) disturbed lead character and his character on-screen echoes some of the doubts you have about him yourself. It's also very atmospheric and draws the viewer in nicely.
I shan't reveal the ending and spoil it for others but I wasn't sure I was completely satisfied with it and maybe that's one reason why I couldn't make my mind up what, over all, I thought about the film. It's definitely worth a look and I'm glad I saw it but with films I really like I know I want to see them again at some point in the future, but I'm not sure I'd be in a hurry to see this again.
My 3-star rating reflects this unsure stance of mine but I will say that 3 is closer to 4 stars than 2.
Very realistic feeling, in so many ways.
I won't reveal the ending, but will say that it ruined the film for me. Others enjoyed it, so it's a matter of taste.
Other than that, it's a very good examination of schizophrenia from the inside.
This film is NOT a party film, if you've a few mates around for Doritos and a few beers then I'd give this film a swerve. And, if your frame of mind is a tad tender from a bad day in the office, a break up etc then save this film for a time when you want a thought provoking and insightful drama that will perhaps make you question your own moral values and outlooks on others.
You'll find a wide spectrum of reviews for this film on amazon, I personally think that when a film has the 'Marmite Factor' then it's worth exploring further, better to be a swing of the pendulum than to be forever middle of the road.
Its depiction of the lead character's gradual transformation and disintegration, played excellently by Michael Shannon, was both agonizing to watch, and arresting. You both will him to overcome his lurid psychotic breakdown, but also for it to be affirmed. You love his character so much that you wish his friends and family would just see what he sees, so that he is finally validated and all doubt removed. This strange desire to confirm his deep fears is finally allowed in the closing scene, where a storm, possibly a real and very dangerous one, approaches not just Curtis LaForche himself, but his family as well. It's this moment of trust and understanding between the family that really caps this picture off.
What also amazed me was the very milky and contrasting colour schemes. This form of lurid photography helped create a layer of dreamlike serenity, a peacefulness that could so easily broken by Curtis' unceasing apocalyptic visions. American suburban life is shown to be fragile and worthless if it cannot be protected--either from each other or from mother nature. The esoteric soundtrack and bright blue skies also add a layer of suburban utopia. And just like a storm, the sounds and music crashes and merges into the calm at the most opportune moments, highlighting the erratic behaviour of one man as he watches himself fall into his mother's footsteps.
The acting from all performers was tremendous, but Michael Shannon really does take the cake. His obvious desire and passion to look after his family is endearing. You cannot help but appreciate his efforts, no matter how unfounded they are. This ability to make the audience love you, despite actions, is really quite something. It grounded this film and made any of its faults, whatever they may be, in my eyes totally negligible.
What happened? What did it mean?
I could possibly score this 4 stars, maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention.
Did the writer/director actually require the audience to think? Ok nudging it up to 4 stars but I am not happy about this film makers treating audience like adults thing!
The acting is good and the storyline is very original. Just be prepared for a very slow movie.
as this is difficult for me to disclose all the things that can be found in this film go see it through bluray -that's what I did-
all has been said about it.by other commentators.
My opinion is this is a film about a real "love story" not like the previous one with Ryan O'Neal.
Without the love and lucidity of his wife there wouldnt be any way out.
Obviously, its Michael Shannon who steals the show but Jessica Chastain is good too. Both of them bringing strong performances.
Very good, highly recommended.
It stays with you after you watch it. It's unnerving, it's brilliant.
Michael Shannon makes the film, and delivers a brilliant performance.