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Take Shelter

Submitted by MBergeron on October 20, 2024 – 10:30 amNo Comment

We live in a time of upheaval and revelatory dreams. Take Shelter takes full advantage of this fact. Starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain Take Shelter unwinds in such an unnerving way you being to feel the cognitive dissonance of the lead character. But then, there’s never been a paucity of fiction revolving around the apocalypse.

Shannon lives a blue-collar existence with his loyal wife Samantha (Chastain) but there’s a thin veneer that separates their lives of normalcy from the, well, underneath of reality. Increasingly prophetic dreams seem to indicate a storm is brewing the likes of which people have never seen.

But then again maybe Shannon’s going off the deep end. A visit to his mother reveals her living in an asylum. Shannon pulls a shady deal at work that gets him fired. There’s always doubt as to where he’s really coming from.

Shannon takes out a loan and puts an expensive tornado shelter in his backyard. Like a modern day Noah he goes forth like a man on a mission even as Samantha threatens to leave and take their deaf daughter with her.

Take Shelter works its atmosphere mojo on the audience until the final reveal, and even then one has to balance what has come before with what appears to be happening. Writer director Jeff Nichols has a flair for creating unease and previously helmed Shannon in Shotgun Stories. Chastain continues to amaze with every new performance (The Help, The Tree of Life, The Debt) and also appears as a tough as nails detective in another movie opening this week Texas Killing Fields.

Take Shelter has some great weather CGI, which you would expect given the subject. But Take Shelter wants to be a cerebral film so we’re never inundated with the effects. Rather they form the background for Shannon’s character as he comes to grip with his dreams and his state in life. I don’t have one of those new fangled iPhones with Siri the talking phone voice, but if I did Siri would probably be telling me to see Take Shelter this weekend.

- Michael Bergeron

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