Take note, Take Shelter is not to be missed.
The past few years has seen several films which attempted to capture the current state of America’s psyche following the housing bubble burst, from Up in the Air to Drag Me To Hell (arguably the latter in a more compelling way). But none captures the current state of anxiety that runs through the country like Take Shelter.
Michael Shannon stars as Curtis LaForche, a hard-working man with a decent job, a kind wife (Jessica Chastain), and a young daughter, Hannah (Tova Stewart). As one of his friends tells him, he has a “good life.” However, not all is well: Curtis begins to suffer from violent delusions and dreams, ranging from attacks by faceless figures to Hitchcockian bird swarms, but all concerning his inability to protect Hannah. As these hallucinations become increasingly harder to decipher from reality (and as they are seamlessly woven into the film, the audience also begins to question what is real) Curtis builds a shelter behind his house, fearing the coming of a storm the likes of which man has never seen.
Written by director Jeff Nichols during the first year of his marriage, Take Shelter not only paints a portrait of current malaise (when asked by his brother if he is stressed, Curtis replies: “No more than anyone else”) but also questions ideas of masculinity and how we cope in situations that are beyond our control. The film’s ending (which has been dividing audiences on its interpretation) can be seen as either a Roland Emmerich type cop-out or an innovative questioning of what the cost of being right can mean. Either way, one can take comfort in knowing Take Shelter is a sure pick.