Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Perfect Storm

Take Shelter (2011) - Nichols
As far as a-neurotic-man-going-crazy, predicting-end-of-days movies are concerned, there are only two possible outcomes - either he remains crazy and the sun comes up tomorrow, or "he was right all along". For the sake of those who haven't seen this movie, I'm not gonna get into that. What's worthwhile is seeing Michael Shannon slowly but surely going nuts. As he demonstrated previously- bug, My Son My Son, What Have Ye Done? among others, he is good at that sort of thing.

Curtis is a normal family man in Ohio. He has a beautiful wife, Sam (Jessica Chastain of Tree of Life- being typecast as a perfect mid-western housewife) and a button nosed but deaf daughter. He works at a construction firm. Lately he's been having nightmares- massive thunder and lightening storms, oily rain, birds dropping from the sky, people acting weird... Like a proud male he is, he hides his irrational fears from his wife but slowly and surely prepares for a storm shelter and seeking head doctors without telling her. His erratic behavior gets him fired from his job and alienate from his friends and community and even from his wife. I'm glad Jeff Nichols didn't take Jesus route and downplayed the environmental factor. He is more interested in the visceral, immediate reaction of Curtis rather than contemplation as to what it all means. It's Nichols who showcased Shannon's talent in his debut, Shotgun Stories. This is definitely a Michael Shannon show. He is fantastic as always, embodying a skulking everyman with his stoicism and macho pride. So is Chastain, as a reprehensive at first, then strong willed, compassionate wife. Take Shelter could've been twenty minutes shorter. The pacing really drags.

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