Take Shelter is a drama about a family man, living in a small town in Ohio, called Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon). Curtis begins to have vivid and unsettling dreams about an impending storm; his nightmares become more frequent and with a family history of mental illness LaForche decides to seek professional help.
LaForche’s unusual behaviour continues, however, which begins to take its toll on his relationship with his wife, Samantha (Jessica Chastain), who finds her husband’s odd behaviour worrying: especially his intense focus on preparing for the terrible storm only he believes is coming.
…he has received a lot of critical acclaim…
Michael Shannon impressively portrays a man whose mental state appears to be deteriorating and it is mainly through the strength of his performance that Take Shelter becomes more than just your average drama. Shannon has been a popular character actor since his appearance in Groundhog Day and he has also played memorable parts in Pearl Harbour, 8 mile, Vanilla Sky, and Revolutionary Road.
Currently on the popular TV series Boardwalk Empire (produced by Martin Scorsese), Michael Shannon’s ability to engage an audience is becoming common practice for him; he has received a lot of critical acclaim including an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Revolutionary Road.
…it’s easy to feel uncomfortable at times…
Take Shelter has a steady pace and eerie atmosphere which makes it an interesting and engaging drama to watch. LaForche’s realistic nightmares create an underlying feeling of something ominous on the horizon throughout the film and the use of CGI effectively conveys the enormity of what he is dreaming, which is at times similar to a biblical plague.
Like LaForche it’s easy to feel uncomfortable at times as you are not sure whether his visions will come to fruition or if we are simply witnessing a man who is losing his mind. It is only at the end that you can finally realise whether LaForche’s mental state was truly in question.