Take Shelter Film Review (2011)

So I just finished watching a film entitled Take Shelter…

Take Shelter tells the story of Curtis, his with Samantha, and their deaf daughter Hannah. When Curtis starts having nightmares of the end times, and these nightmares start to become more real than imaginary, he begins to act in a paranoid and erratic manner. This behaviour eventually boils over, and begins to affect his family for the worse, leaving us to wonder if Curtis’s visions are that of a paranoid schizophrenic, or a man who has seen the future.

Really interesting and well done thriller about mental illness.

Tight script, great characters and performances (Michael Shannon was absolutely brilliant as the troubled Curtis, and Jessica Chastain was great as the wife Samantha), amazing score, interesting discussion of themes, neat imagery, etc.

The score for me is what stole the show here, but Michael Shannon’s performance was a close second. This droning, ambient, and eerie use of strings produced dread and doubt in every scene. It made you question what was going on, whether Curtis is right or wrong. Further accentuating this is Michael Shannon’s amazing acting. Michael Shannon knew how to hold back and make the emotions subtle, really showing that this character is trying to keep it all together, but in reality doesn’t know a thing about what is going on. And when he lets loose at the end, it is absolute fireworks and it blows you away.

I did have one major complaint with this movie, and that was the cinematography. While it was far from terrible and it was effective, it came off as really bland. Very basic lighting, very uninteresting framing, no interesting cuts, there wasn’t anything wowing me aside from a few neat sequences, one of which was the dream sequence with his wife. Again, it wasn’t bad in any sense, but it wasn’t amazing either.

Overall, this is a very interesting movie. Could benefit from some more interesting shot composition and editing, but everything else in this film is enough to keep you hooked. Recommended.

8 out of 10

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