Take Shelter (15)

Film

TAKE_SHELTER_2.JPG_cmyk.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Fri Sep 30 2011

Cinema’s response to the recent economic slowdown has ranged from the obvious – worthwhile fingerpointing docs like ‘Inside Job’ and ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ – to the oblique, with films as diverse as ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Arthur’ exploring ideas of money, power and privilege. But it’s hard to recall a film which presses its finger quite so firmly on the pulse of middle-class, middle-American desperation as this striking second feature from Jeff Nichols, whose solid indie debut ‘Shotgun Stories’ had a small release in 2007.

Michael Shannon proves he’s not afraid of becoming typecast as indie cinema’s go-to bug-eyed nutcase as Curtis LaForche, the Midwestern family man whose encroaching schizophrenia – in the form of mood swings, nightmares and hallucinatory episodes – leads him to believe the world is about to be consumed by an apocalyptic storm. Unable to control his growing sense of fury, fear and frustration, Curtis lashes out at his struggling, dutiful wife (a radiant Jessica Chastain), their deaf daughter (Tova Stewart), his best friend and closest colleague (Ray McKinnon) and even the family dog. But is he just crazy or is the end really nigh?

The decent guy plagued by visions routine has been done to death in everything from ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘A Beautiful Mind’ to Shannon’s own turn in Herzog and Lynch’s eerily complementary ‘My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done’. As a result, there are a few scenes which feel a little overfamiliar, as Curtis explodes with rage at innocent bystanders or concocts elaborate paranoid fantasies involving those closest to him.

But unlike those films, ‘Take Shelter’ is not simply the story of one man’s journey to the edge, but a state-of-the-nation address detailing exactly where America (and, by extension, the world) is headed if we all fail to look up and see the clouds gathering. And although the film may stand or fall on the strength of its big moments – Shannon’s bombastic, bracing performance, a fistful of beautifully terrifying, ‘Inception’-like dreamscape set-pieces – writer-director Nichols is as concerned with the minute, everyday pressures of modern life – economic responsibility, interpersonal relationships, religious guilt, masculine pride – as with a disease-of-the-week portrayal of mental illness.

The result is an undeniably major work: a flawed, dizzying, wildly ambitious attempt to cram all of America’s problems into one splitting basket. A repository for (and reflection of) modern man’s deepest fears, Curtis is an embattled hero for our times, and the darkening world he inhabits is one we can all recognise. When future film historians look back at the cultural fallout from America’s financial collapse, ‘Take Shelter’ will be a key text. That is, if the storm doesn’t sweep us all away.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Nov 25, 2011

Duration:

120 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|16
1 person listening
Robert Thornton

Thought this was an outstanding film. Haven't seen the actors before but Chastain exceptional, showing so much feeling from her face. Bordering a bit on a shocker but the slow pace built up the story. Don't quite know what's going to happen after the end.

Robert Thornton

Thought this was an outstanding film. Haven't seen the actors before but Chastain exceptional, showing so much feeling from her face. Bordering a bit on a shocker but the slow pace built up the story. Don't quite know what's going to happen after the end.

AshtonSmith

A film that was so close to being excellent - Very, very good, but it could have simply been a bit shorter. 7+/10

AshtonSmith

A film that was so close to being excellent - Very, very good, but it could have simply been a bit shorter. 7+/10

scrumpyjack

Not enough material for 2hrs, which mar's it somewhat but not fatally. Cracking 100min film with an unnecessary layer of stodgy marzipan, if you get my drift. 7+/10

scrumpyjack

Not enough material for 2hrs, which mar's it somewhat but not fatally. Cracking 100min film with an unnecessary layer of stodgy marzipan, if you get my drift. 7+/10

Paul

Have you ever seen a murmuration of starlings before? Well yes quite a lot and it doesn't mean the end of the world if you live in Brighton or neat Otmoor. How many "it's only a dream" sequences can I watch before getting bored, turned out to be more than two. Less time in the bedroom and more time in the shelter would have been just right. The final scene was gratuitous and really should be cut if you don't want your audience to leave depressed as hell. A miserable experience.

Paul

Have you ever seen a murmuration of starlings before? Well yes quite a lot and it doesn't mean the end of the world if you live in Brighton or neat Otmoor. How many "it's only a dream" sequences can I watch before getting bored, turned out to be more than two. Less time in the bedroom and more time in the shelter would have been just right. The final scene was gratuitous and really should be cut if you don't want your audience to leave depressed as hell. A miserable experience.

Alfredo

MOVIES ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS ARE NOT FUN. WE KNOW THAT. BUT THEY CAN BE INTERESTING, AND DEPRESSING OR A COMBINATION OF BOTH. BUT THEY CAN ALSO BE LIKE THIS ONE: A WELL MADE FILM, WELL ACTED BUT . . . TOO PREDICTABLE. REALLY. NO SURPRISES. ONLY, AROUND THE END, FOR SOME SECONDS, THERE'S SOME EXCITEMENT. AND THAT'S ALL YOU GONNA GET.

Alfredo

MOVIES ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS ARE NOT FUN. WE KNOW THAT. BUT THEY CAN BE INTERESTING, AND DEPRESSING OR A COMBINATION OF BOTH. BUT THEY CAN ALSO BE LIKE THIS ONE: A WELL MADE FILM, WELL ACTED BUT . . . TOO PREDICTABLE. REALLY. NO SURPRISES. ONLY, AROUND THE END, FOR SOME SECONDS, THERE'S SOME EXCITEMENT. AND THAT'S ALL YOU GONNA GET.

john o sullivan

Take Shelter would seem as obvious as its title if the early scenes weren’t so lovingly detailed. Stewart’s Hannah has a quiet but beseeching presence, and Shannon’s attempts at sign language make him seem like the gentlest of giants. And Chastain turns an entirely reactive part into a major presence. Is she the most vivid actress to hit the screen in years—maybe decades? On the basis of this film and Jolene and The Debt and even The Tree of Life, I’ll say she just might be. Partly it’s her otherworldly beauty, which writer Tom Shone describes as “of that fascinatingly multi-planed sort—alternately luscious and drawn—that makes you hungry for as many angles as possible.� But it’s also how she moves, how her dancer’s body physicalizes emotion, in this case her love for her daughter (through her fervent signing) and the fear of her husband’s escalating mania. She can tense a muscle and charge the space

john o sullivan

Take Shelter would seem as obvious as its title if the early scenes weren’t so lovingly detailed. Stewart’s Hannah has a quiet but beseeching presence, and Shannon’s attempts at sign language make him seem like the gentlest of giants. And Chastain turns an entirely reactive part into a major presence. Is she the most vivid actress to hit the screen in years—maybe decades? On the basis of this film and Jolene and The Debt and even The Tree of Life, I’ll say she just might be. Partly it’s her otherworldly beauty, which writer Tom Shone describes as “of that fascinatingly multi-planed sort—alternately luscious and drawn—that makes you hungry for as many angles as possible.� But it’s also how she moves, how her dancer’s body physicalizes emotion, in this case her love for her daughter (through her fervent signing) and the fear of her husband’s escalating mania. She can tense a muscle and charge the space

john o sullivan

a bit like melancholia lite features my least favourite actor shannon,who gurns his way through the 120 minutes kept wondering why would chastains character see in him so the film plods along with is he mad or a vissionary mystery to the fore quiet a few people walked out of my screening but i stayed to once again wonder at the genious of jessica she could teach carey mulligan to cry but dressed in baggy and grubby clothes without a bit of lippy she carries the film you care about her and her daughter and as one american critic said she has almost balletic way of acting that convey her characters vunerablity but fierce determination 5 stars for JC 3 stars the film

john o sullivan

a bit like melancholia lite features my least favourite actor shannon,who gurns his way through the 120 minutes kept wondering why would chastains character see in him so the film plods along with is he mad or a vissionary mystery to the fore quiet a few people walked out of my screening but i stayed to once again wonder at the genious of jessica she could teach carey mulligan to cry but dressed in baggy and grubby clothes without a bit of lippy she carries the film you care about her and her daughter and as one american critic said she has almost balletic way of acting that convey her characters vunerablity but fierce determination 5 stars for JC 3 stars the film