Saturday, January 07, 2012

Take Shelter

Tonight I saw Take Shelter, starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain.

Curtis (Shannon) is a family man. He works hard at his construction job each day to provide for his sweet wife Samantha (Chastain) and their young daughter Hannah (Tova Stewart).

Hannah is deaf and needs surgery to try out a cochlear implant. Samantha is relieved when they finally receive word that the insurance will cover it.

But Curtis begins having terrible nightmares predicting an apocalyptic storm. This takes his attention away from his family and his work. He grows paranoid about the supposed impending doom and decides to renovate the storm shelter in their backyard.

At the same time, he's keeping his elaborate (expensive) plans for the shelter from Samantha and beginning to investigate mental illness (since it runs in his family).

As we watch his obsessive paranoia increase, we feel sorry for his patient wife, and even sorrier for him. After all, he may be bearing witness to his own descent into craziness. Or is he?

Michael Shannon plays this role so convincingly, he's more fragile than frightening. His fear is written on his face, but contained in the presence of those he holds dear. And although he is the least reasonable person on-screen at all times, he has the audience rooting for him in spite of it.

I'll be surprised if Shannon doesn't get an Oscar nomination for this role.

Chastain is also good, as are the rest of the supporting cast. Granted, they have a lot less to do, but they are all very believable as simple, Midwestern folks just trying to live their lives. Kudos to writer/director Jeff Nichols for creating 'real' characters.

And I may be in the minority, but I loved the ending. The fact that it wasn't predictable or wrapped up in a big red bow made me smile.

As did the possibility it implied.


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