February 14, 2012

Filthy Review - Take Shelter

Take Shelter (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Sometimes when reviewing a movie it is very easy to categorize what I have just seen. For a start it makes it a lot easier for the reader to get a grasp on what they could potentially be watching. So, with that in mind I will get it out of the way right now, that Take Shelter really does defy being put in any category. It can be viewed as a drama, a horror movie, an art house flick or none of the above. Go in with no preconceptions because it really is that sort of film.

Take Shelter focuses on Curtis, played by Michael Shannon, who is your everyday hard working family man. He dotes on his deaf daughter and loves his wife. Sure, he likes a beer after work with his buddies, but his family is his focus. That focus, however, is broken when he begins to be plagued by horrific dreams that foretell of something terrible.

Curtis isn’t sure if he is having visions or if he is losing his mind, as his mother did when she was his age. Despite the conflicts in his mind he sets about work on his storm shelter, even though he finds himself increasingly at odds with his family and friends.

I have often described films as being slowburning affairs, but Take Shelter truly is one that fits this description perfectly. I found myself constantly questioning what was happening, what really is going on, yet I was in no real hurry to find out as the movie slowly swept me along in its clutches.

Take Shelter manages to pull all sorts of emotions from you as you watch the story unfold; from joy to sadness, dread and horror, in its skillfully played out story it brings all those out and more.
Visually it is a quite straightforward movie, with the occasional scene that will strike you with awe. Don’t be fooled though, this is not an action film nor is it a straightforward end of the world movie. It’s a movie that constantly has you questioning it and second guessing it. This is due to the skillful writing and direction of Jeff Nichols, so keep an eye out for future work from this director.

A film like this would not work if you did not believe the central performance of Curtis. Fortunately Michael Shannon absolutely nails the roles, every emotion is played out on his face, and his delivery is nothing short of exceptional. You will feel for this character one hundred percent, I really cannot speak too highly of Shannon. He is also quite ably supported by Jessica Chastain, as his loving but patience tested wife. The on screen chemistry is perfect and they compliment each other perfectly.

So, is there anything wrong with this movie, I hear you ask? Quite truthfully, no. It had me captivated from start to finish. The minimal CGI was used sparingly, yet effectively, as it is quite apparent that this is no multi-million dollar extravaganza. Take shelter is a character piece, a small slice of life if you will, yet it manages to portray the big picture when it needs to.

Take Shelter is quite simply a terrific movie that had me speechless as it drew to a close. Speechless aside from one word, and that was “wow”. Yes it is that good and I urge you to see it.

Take Shelter is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Classics

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