Working-class husband and father Curtis, (Michael Shannon) questions whether his terrifying dreams of an apocalyptic storm is a warning of something real to come or the onset of an inherited mental illness he's feared his whole life. Faced with the proposition that his disturbing visions signal disaster of one kind or another, Curtis confides in Samantha (Jesscia Chastain), testing the power of their bond against the highest possible stakes.
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Michael Shannon's performance here as the troubled family man plagued by delusions and visions of a coming apocalyptic storm is quite simply a tour-de-force; if anyone should have got an Oscar it was him. The story is not wildly dissimilar in plot and tone to the equally impressive Bill Paxton movie 'Frailty.' In both movies men who are fundamentally decent and loving fathers are pushed to the edge by seemingly irrational visions which they have no power to prevent. And in that film and this one both actors give towering performances which are a sight to behold. The plot unfolds slowly as we watch a man appear to descend into madness whilst trying to hold on to rationality and his loving family. By turns tense, disturbing and poignant, Shannon's character is on a psychological journey whose nature and outcome we cannot ascertain with certainty. A very unusual, carefully told and really impressive psychological thriller. Very highly recommended.
Take Shelter is the follow-up to Jeff Nichols' impressive debut 'Shotgun Stories.' Like that film, it stars Michael Shannon, one of the most impressive film actors working today. Here he is a father, increasingly obsessed with what he senses is an imminent apocalyptic disaster. Consequently he builds a shelter against the coming storm. But his increasing mental instability threatens his whole being, affecting his work and relationships with his family. Co-starring as his wife is Jessica Chastain, who has already notched up a succession of impressive performances in 'The Debt', 'Coriolanus', and 'The Tree of Life', and here gives another strong performance. Indeed it is difficult to think of another actress who could hold her own against Shannon's tour de force in this film. This is an impressive, claustrophobic and unsettling film, and it is not difficult to see it as an allegory for the uncertainty felt by many 'ordinary' Americans over the current fragile economic and social state of their country.