“Take Shelter” came out last year and few under the radar of both general audiences and most major award shows, but it deserves more recognition than it has received.
The movie is about a man named Curtis, played by the always astounding Michael Shannon, who begins to have dreams and visions of an apocalyptic storm. He struggles with the possibility that he is going crazy while also preparing for the apocalypse he believes is approaching.
His wife, played by the captivating Jessica Chastain, struggles with being loyal to the man she loves while also protecting herself and their deaf child from his increasing volatility.
Shannon’s performance is understated and builds with the tension of the film, becoming truly powerful. It makes the “Is he real or is he crazy?” uneasiness truly unpredictable. His dynamic performance is complemented by the quiet energy and nurturing nature of Chastain’s performance as wife and mother.
Shannon and Chastain, both Oscar nominated actors, him for “Revolutionary Road” and her for “The Help,” have always impressed me with the honesty in their performances. Together, they make quite the dynamic duo.
This movie doesn’t use fancy cinematography, complicated music or a stylistic approach. It’s stripped of any contrivance and relies entirely on story and performance, and it’s more than enough. Though, this is probably why it was overlooked by the major award shows.
Some may complain that the film is slow-moving, which may be true, but it’s not without purpose, and the waiting is worth it. The movie builds into a tension that culminates in one of the most satisfying endings I have ever seen in film.
November 15, 2012