Take Shelter – movie review

Take Shelter – 2011 – movie review

This is a psychological thriller / drama revolving around a small family living in some awful middle-of-nowhere town somewhere in (possibly the Midwest?) the US. The family is a mother, father, daughter and dog.

The dad starts to have nightmares about storms, the people he cares about going crazy, or getting hurt, and other catastrophic situations. The dreams start off bad and become terrible. You feel his tension right from the start and the film builds it beautifully. He decides the dreams must be a foretelling of some sort of an apocalyptic storm so he sets about building a storm shelter. The people around him start to think he’s crazy and eventually he thinks he might be too.

The movie was a winner at the Cannes film festival, and official selections of the Sundance and Toronto film festivals. The vast majority of critic’s reviews have been extremely positive, and I am with them on this.

The main character is played by Michael Shannon, who I know from Boardwalk Empire and not a lot else. His less-is-more approach really suited the story and I really felt his sorrow and terror. There’s a great scene when he loses his temper and all the other actors in the scene looked as shocked as I felt.

It’s written and directed by Jeff Nichols, who I don’t know much about, but I will be expecting great things from him in future. I’ll avoid spoiling things by going in to detail but it had just the exact ending I wanted it to have. It just goes to show that you don’t need a huge budget to make an excellent, moody, and engrossing film.

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