Another day, another Cannes prize winner.
Tormented by increasingly menacing nightmares off an oncoming apocalypse, work-hard Curtis starts to question his grip on reality, his family and himself. Unashamedly adopting a slow burning, shoestring storyline, Take Shelter manages to keep you captivated through two destructive central performances. The cerebrally menacing actor Michael Shannon is a frightfully strong screen presence, whilst Jessica Chastain does tremendously well as the antithetical, struggling wife Samantha to Shannon’s maddening Curtis.
Although these performances arrest the foreground of the screen, another star in the lineup are the brilliant special effects, which subtly contort the barren surroundings of mid-west America with the forebodingly tortuous-looking skyline.
Although the nightmare sequences may feel a little flabby just over half way through, this small, million dollar budget film is a huge achievement for budding writer/director Jeff Nichols. It’s worth mentioning that Take Shelter has a similar commitment to time and space as last year’s The Tree of Life. Unlike that Mallick art-flick and, cruelly overlooked at the increasingly archaic award ceremonies, Take Shelter works particularly well as an allegorical drama about concurrent, grave austerity and the stormy, uncertain conditions ahead.