watch Take Shelter
Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.
Take Shelter begins when a storm breaks. Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) looks down at his hand and the rain falling on him is a sickly yellow. LaForche is having trouble telling the difference as his nightmares have begun to intrude on his waking hours. He observes disturbing cloud formations, weird bird behavior and other phenomena that suggest something terrible is on the horizon. He would share his fears with his wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain), but her plate is full. Curtis’ mistrust of his sanity isn’t enough to keep him from a spending spree of canned goods, gas masks and a shipping container to convert into a shelter.
Take Shelter‘s is too long. Jeff Nichols (director) does a fabulous job setting up LaForche’s situation, the small-town Ohio milieu in which he lives, the emotional and financial pressures that he and Samantha face dealing with their little girl’s condition and his devotion to his family. The audience is off balance as LaForche is with imagery that’s as spooky as it is realistic. The ambiguity of the environmental menace matches LaForche’s uncertain mental competence, and is one of the film’s greatest strengths. Is LaForche insane or the sanest man in the room? There is a point Nichols could end the movie and retain that uncertainty. Instead, he opts for something more explicit and that robs the film of a bit of its power.
Take Shelter shows Shannon’s prowess as an actor; he’s surrounded by a great supporting cast that includes Chastain, Kathy Baker as his mother, Ray McKinnon as his older brother and Shea Whigham as a co-worker and friend—but this is Shannon’s show all the way. LaForche’s distress and confusion are palpable and whether his perceptions are correct or not, the costs are going to be high. Shannon makes the man’s dilemma plain and moving, and that gives Take Shelter a resonance that last long after the final fade out. watch new movies