16 March 2012

Movies: Take Shelter

Take Shelter (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1675192/

Drama

Curtis begins having recurring increasingly intense nightmares about an impending storm. He feels compelled to expand and stock his backyard storm shelter. Knowing his mother was institutionalized for schizophrenia in her 30's he begins to doubt his own sanity and seeks medical help, however money is already tight and his deaf daughter may be a candidate for a procedure that will restore her hearing. As his nightmares continue to affect his daily life and decisions his family, friends and co-workers begin noticing his behavioral changes too.

This is a very slowly developing slow burn drama. If you choose to watch it, be sure to be well rested before doing so. It is a very long 120 minutes. I realize the pacing is deliberate and directly feeds the impending doom Curtis feels to the viewers of the story, but had I watched this after eating a meal I would've been snoring 30 minutes in to the film. 
I'm not saying the movie is bad. I really liked the film. I'm glad I stuck around to the end.

Stars Michael Shannon as Curtis. He's been in the business for a while and I've seen him in quite a few things, but only recently have I really been noticing him in productions. Probably because in the past, if I recall correctly, he was generally a 'bad guy #3' type. Surely recognized by "Boardwalk Empire" fans as Agent Van Alden. He was also in "The Runaways".  Curtis's friend and co-worker Dewart is played by Shea Whigham, who also happens to be Sheriff Eli Thompson in "Boardwalk Empire."
I should mention that Michael Shannon will be playing General Zod in the upcoming "Man of Steel" film. Kneel before Zod. (sight unseen I'm thinking the film might be a bit better than "Superman: Requiem", just saying).

The film opening says it was rated "R" for language. I didn't even notice any cursing and I was trying to pay attention because I thought how in the hell heck does a film get rated "R" for language these days? Well, if it were "Boondock Saints" level cussing I could see it.  So the cursing must've slipped past or something because I didn't even notice any.  It wasn't especially violent either - there's way more violence in prime-time TV than this film's one short scene of fisticuffs and sitting on fried catfish and macaroni.
Some of Curtis's dream sequences were especially scary to Curtis - not so much for viewers. The sparingly-used special effects are good and mostly realistic.

Like I said - slow burn deliberate pace, but compelling and acted really well. Separating Curtis's dreams from reality isn't always easy, especially as he takes steps to prevent his dreams from becoming reality. But the more he struggles to separate the two the harder it becomes for him (and eventually us) to do so. I couldn't help but stick around to answer the question "Is Curtis going insane, or what?"
I liked it, but understandably not going to be everyone's flavor-of-choice film.  Have to kind of be in the mood for one like this.

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