Sunday, October 30, 2011

Take Shelter

Michael Shannon is mesmerizing as Curtis LaForche, a blue collar working man in modern day Ohio who begins to have nightmares and visions of impending doom. Curtis lives with his wife Samantha, played by Jessica Chastain (what movie isn't she in this year?) and their six year old hearing impaired, daughter, Hannah.

Life is normal enough as the couple struggle to pay bills, continue to master sign language and anticipate an operation that can restore Hannah's hearing. When Curtis's visions begin, he becomes obsessed with renovating and enlarging the storm shelter in the backyard. His obsession takes it's toll on his job, his family and literally his sanity as things begin to unravel. Is it mental illness or something more?

Mr. Shannon can do no wrong, whether it's Television (Boardwalk Empire) the stage ( Mistakes Were Made) or film (Revolutionary Road) and once again shows off his brilliance in an extraordinary performance. Jessica Chastain is perfect as Samantha, the wife with unconditional love for her husband, but straining to understand his growing erratic behavior. The film also stars Tova Stewart as Hannah and Shea Wigham (also of Boardwalk Empire) as Dewart, Curtis's best friend. There are also two good cameos by Kathy Baker and Ray McKinnon.

The film may be slow for some but the building intensity of the situation captivates the viewer and the final moments of the film gave me goose bumps.

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