Saturday, November 26, 2011

Take Shelter

"Take Shelter" is the second time that Writer/Director Jeff Nichols has worked with Michael Shannon. Together they provide a powerful film that showcases the talents of each as well as a strong supporting cast. Jeff Nichols presents the story through a series of snapshots that move between the normal life and the stages of mental illness. In doing this it is difficult at times to decipher what reality is the truth, which is true for someone that is struggling with mental illness. The script that Jeff Nichols has written and brought to life through his delicate vision is one of the best for the year.

The story centers on Curtis (Michael Shannon) who is riding the ups and downs of mental illness that begins with visions of a storm and painful acts that are difficult to separate from reality. The visions include his loved ones attacking him from his wife, Samantha (Jessica Chastain), to his best friend Dewart (Shea Whigham), that contributes to the struggles with separating the visions from reality. The story of the daughter, Hannah (Tova Stewart), living in a world without sound and unable to connect socially with the other children parallels the struggles that Curtis is battling understanding mental illness. While Hannah lives in a world without sound her parents adjust their way of communicating to show compassion for their daughter. Similarly, Samantha desperately tries to understand and help Curtis. The visions that Curtis is having cause him to believe that a storm is coming that will be devastating to all and leads him to build an underground shelter. The storm has rain like motor oil, dead birds falling from the sky, and deadly gasses.

Michael Shannon is one of the most under rated actors. He has been shining recently on the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" along with Shea Whigham. However, it is Michael Shannon's ability to convey the emotion of his characters without saying any words that makes his performance so impressive and deserving of a best actor nomination. Jessica Chastain has been a very busy woman ("The Help", "Tree of Life", "Coriolanus" and "The Debt") and continues to show that she is one of the best actresses of her generation and every bit deserving of a supporting actress nomination.

The film asks powerful questions that at times may even resonate with the audience. Is Curtis psychic or are the apocalyptic visions related to their daughter's loss of hearing? "Take Shelter" is a true indie film, so you will need to put a little effort into finding this film. If you are able to find it you should make the time to see this 4 Quack film.

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