Take Shelter is the unsettling story of Curtis LaForche,a man who starts having nightmares and visions about different disasters,so he tries to rebuild a storm shelter in his backyard,an act which makes his family more distant and unsure of who Curtis really is.
This is indie helmer Jeff Nichols' second film.Haven't seen the first one,but this sure is one of the best indies to come in a while.While he doesn't really engage the viewer a lot (the film lags a lot in the middle and in the end it feels somewhat overlong),he knows how to build proper suspense,not only with the sudden and short visions,but also through the mediation of its characters relations,the most intriguing character link being the one between Curtis and his mother,which is sadly,quite short.
The performances are great,especially Shannon,which gives his strongest central performance until now.Chastain is pretty good,as the overly protective mother which she also played in Terrence Malick's The Tree Of Life,but the difference here is that she is actually given material to work with.My advice is to see her in this one,not in The Help or The Tree Of Life.As for the secondary performances,the best one is given by Shea Whigham (who worked with Shannon before on the terrific series Boardwalk Empire) who gives a violent and grim performance.
(Michael Shannon and Tova Stewart)
The visions are accentuated with the gravity of the situation the LaForche family goes through,another evidence of Nichols' great direction.The people who think this is only a story of paranoia are completely wrong,Take Shelter doesn't stand out as a movie about that subject matter,but as a movie about the hardships of a family which collides slowly and the patience and commitment of a mom and her daughter to her father which breaks bad.
All in all,Take Shelter is one of the best indies of 2011,with impecable direction,great acting and a ravishing ending.