Take Shelter Review and Trailer

Take Shelter is one hell of a manic joy ride, albeit a slow burning one complete with motor oil rain storms, hallucinations, family strains, and an outstanding anxiety ridden performance by Michael Shannon.

Michael Shannon plays Curtis, a hard-working family man just trying to deal with the anxieties and pressures that come with being a responsible adult.  But being a responsible adult isn’t always the easiest thing to be, especially when masking your apocalyptic visions of storms which appear to you on a daily basis.  Knowing that his mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia in her 30s, 34-year-old Curtis tries to do the right thing and seek help for himself.  Unable to get the help he needs, and knowing that his deaf daughter is dependent on his job’s health insurance plan, he takes out an investment loan from the bank for “home improvements,” a fall-out shelter.

Full disclosure: knowing nothing more than a very brief plot synopsis regarding a family man struggling with some disturbing visions, I was somewhat apprehensive to even see this film.  My apprehension stems from the casting of Michael Shannon as the man coping with these visions.  Nothing against Shannon – in fact, I think he’s a great actor, but I really was not interested in seeing the man do crazy once more.  Having already proved he could play a nut with the best of them in roles such as William Friedkin‘s Bug, Werner Herzog‘s My Son My Son What Have Ye Done, and the award nominated performance from Sam MendesRevolutionary Road,’ I was worried that I might be in for a carbon copy of those characters.  Surprisingly, I was not.

I’m sure this film could, and will be seen by some as an allegorical statement that reflects the current financial hardships a lot of Americans are facing today.  Sure, I can see that, but I didn’t have to read that deep into this film in order to be affected by it.  Willing to give myself up to the director’s control and not over intellectualize the screen, I was fully able to sympathize with the protagonist every step of the way, right up to the rewarding ending.

Overall, Take Shelter is one of the most depressing and enjoyable times I have had at the movies lately.  It also left me with some confusion over whether or not I just watched the greatest superhero movie ever, but I’ll save that theory for another post, one where I feel more comfortable delving into spoiler territory.

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