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- The spirits of Denton
- A living canvas
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- Festival Review: Austin City Limits
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Netflix Rental: Take Shelter
Take Shelter (2011), 120 minutes
Rated R for some language.
Written and directed by Jeff Nichols
Starring: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain and Shea Whigham
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Curtis LaForche (Shannon), an Ohio construction worker living with his wife (Chastain) and their hearing-impaired child, begins to experience a series of bad dreams and hallucinations about an apocalyptic storm. Questioning his own sanity, LaForche seeks medical help and counseling. However, as his dreams worsen, threatening to destroy his career and tear apart his family, LaForche beings to build a storm shelter in his backyard. LaForche is debating whether he’s crazy or if there is really a deadly storm on the way.
“Take Shelter” is a mesmerizing, suspenseful character-driven drama that gets underneath your skin. Not only does the film display alluring cinematography and skillful art direction that blends itself with its story from writer-director Nichols (“Mud”, 2013), but it features a powerful leading performance from Shannon (“Boardwalk Empire”, TV series) that should have earned him his second Oscar nomination.
This is a film that plays with your head and causes its audience to question their dreams and sanity, much like films “Shutter Island” (2010) and “Inception” (2010) did. It’s captivating from the film’s start – where we are introduced to the characters who deal with genuine humanistic problems – until the final frame, that leaves you breathless.
Recently snagging her second Oscar nomination (“Zero Dark Thirty”, 2012), Chastain continues her role-dominating streak. She is pitch perfect as LaForche’s concerned wife. However, Shannon is simply outstanding, constructing a character who is unable to decipher dreams from reality. He is the force behind this picture, causing the film to work coherently and remarkably well.
Great films are ones that allow their characters to develop at a human-like pace before throwing in authentic climatic elements. Too many screenwriters today buy into this more blockbuster-style of writing, essentially “Cliff Noting” scripts and serving the entrée before giving audiences a taste of an appetizer. Thankfully this is not the case with “Take Shelter.” It’s a masterpiece that deserves your full attention.
“Take Shelter” is also available on Blu-ray and DVD today.