Take Shelter (2011)

Take Shelter
Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Wigham, Tova Stewart
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Curtis (Michael Shannon) would have a pretty good life together with his wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain) and Hannah (Tova Stewart), if it wasn’t for his nights, when he is frequently haunted by apocalyptic visions and nightmares. Fueled by these, Curtis starts to build a storm shelter for his family and himself. But what will turn out to be the storm hitting the family?

Take Shelter is a beautiful, well-acted film with a frustrating ending and a few lengths. There are definitely worse films out there.

[SPOILERS]

The cinematography was perfectly wonderful. It’s a feast for the eyes. The images created really are the best part about the film. Which isn’t to say that the other parts were bad. I also really loved the soundtrack. The cast was amazing, too. But no less is to be expected when you get Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain together. You basically just have to lean back to enjoy the show. I enjoyed Hannah, who gets to be a hearing-impaired girl without her impairment having some magical relevance to the plot.

And Curtis nightmares were harrowing. You could definitely understand why it would drive him insane to have these dreams (or maybe it’s the other way round and the dreams are a manifestation of his insanity). It was ugly and heartbreaking.

Which is also exactly why I found the ending so incredibly disappointing. When Jeff Nichols stops making an excellent movie about a man slowly losing himself to paranoia and proves him and his visions right. I felt that it cheapened Curtis’ story and it seemed like Nichols just didn’t have the balls to say, “yeah, Curtis is insane. Deal with it. He does, too.”

But right up until that last scene, it is a fantastic film with many admirable things about it. Most of all how it beautifully, carefully and relentlessly follows Curtis descent into madness with wonderful visuals.

Summarising: Very nice watch.

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