Director: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart
Duration: 120 min.
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 is a film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. It premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and later screened in the International Critics' Week section of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Critics' Week Grand Prix.
Tense atmosphere and apocalyptic nightmares abound in this captivating character drama starring Michael Shannon in a role that seems to come naturally for him, as hard working mid-west family man Curtis, who becomes unhinged after he starts having dreams and visions of an impending deadly storm.
Nichols' direction does well to take us along on Curtis' terrifying journey into mental illness, developing it in a convincing progression. The ominous cinematography filled with images of dark storms and eerie swarms of crows, set the stage for Shannon's powerful performance, one that comes across as equally a riveting force of nature as the one in his dreams. Providing ample support is his confused but understanding wife Samantha, played with all of the instinctive natural skill that I've come to expect from the ubiquitous Jessica Chastain.
Despite the fascinating lead character and carefully crafted atmosphere, there are segments towards the middle of the film that drag somewhat and I felt there were perhaps too many dream sequences. They do work to keep the story confusing and the outcome unpredictable, nicely echoing Curtis' state of mind, but they just take too long to get there.
— Bonjour Tristesse