Film of the Day (09/09/18): Take Shelter

 

Written By Jeff Nichols
Directed By Jeff Nichols

This is one of the better films I have seen in quite a while, and literally left me with goosebumps and an elevated heart rate when the credits rolled. It is a very powerful examination of mental illness, with visions of an apocalyptic storm serving as the metaphor for seeing it coming and being powerless against it. If you had a family history of something like paranoid schizophrenia and felt it taking hold of you in its early stages, what would that feel like? What level of anxiety and terror would grip you? How terribly isolating would that feel? Luckily, here, Curtis has the support of his wife and child, but that won’t be the case for everyone. Michael Shannon does career work in this film, giving an absolutely breathtaking performance in the lead role. Jeff Nichols creates a masterpiece of quiet suspense, and Shannon is pitch perfect for the part. Jessica Chastain does an amazing job as well, walking the line between supporting an ailing husband and running away from what seems like imminent danger. The scene toward the finale with the family inside the storm shelter is utterly brilliant, and Chastain deserves much of the credit for that. The score is great, perfectly matching up with the visuals to add to the neverending uneasiness of the film, and features a simple yet effective theme I doubt I will forget. Jeff Nichols is a director I was admittedly unfamiliar with, but I will be checking out more of his work immediately. Nichols has crafted something totally engrossing from the first frame to the last, with an incredible ending that packs an emotional wallop. Seek this out!

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