Take Shelter

Year: 2011
Production Co: Hydraulx
Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain

The entire movie is a question. Is hardworking family man Curtis (Shannon) crazy or not? The casting of Shannon as Curtis is either terrible or brilliant, because just like Stephen King hated Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The Shining because he already looked insane (Torrance's descent into madness was always a process of transition to the author), Shannon's wide mouth and huge eyes make him look like a serial killer.

Of course he's nuts! He's not just seeing apocalyptic storms, he's going to chop up his beautiful wife Samantha (Chastain) and cute daughter Hannah with an axe!

Out of the blue, Curtis starts having nasty nightmares and seeing huge thunderstorms blowing in when they aren't really there. Plagued by the notion that a huge storm is coming that will endanger their lives, he starts to build a storm shelter in the backyard of their rural home, but when it takes up all their time and money, it starts to fracture his family down the middle.

He does his best to seek help with his mental health in case he's just cracking up, but the drive to finish the shelter becomes an OCD compulsion, even after he loses his job and his wife storms out.

The movie has its heart in the right place, but the only problem is that it's so very long and slow, undoubtedly feeling longer than it is because of the langourous pace. The subject matter needed more of a sense of urgency and without it there just never feels like there's much at stake.

I've read, which I apparently missed, that it's a metaphor for modern America, blessed in it's gilded environment but terrified of some horror coming to make it answer for past sins.

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