Take Shelter: Are The End Times Nigh?

Take Shelter is a psychological thriller drama film directed by Jeff Nichols.  The story revolves around family man Curtis (Michael Shannon), who starts having nightmares about the end of the world as the film progresses these nightmares get worse and start to bleed over into his real world and Curtis becomes convinced that something bad is going to happen.

I appreciate Jeff Nichols; he is one of the most consistent but also incredibly underrated filmmakers working today: check out his whole filmography to see what I mean. What I think Nichols does so well is deal with complexity, in his films nothing is ever clear cut, nothing is ever as it appears. In relation to this film, we are never given an answer one way or the other whether Curtis is getting visons of the end of the world if he is suffering a mental break. The film ends and then it is up to us to draw our own conclusions.

Normally, I would hate that kind of ending I would say it is pretensions and a sign of someone who can’t write an ending. However, here it works, the ending fits nicely with the overall feel of the movie; it is natural. Something that again helps to get rid of any notions of pretentiousness is how down to earth this film feels, everything about it seems set in our world with characters that could easily exist. This is very true of Shannon’s Curtis as well as Jessica Chastain’s Samantha, both feel very real and fleshed out and both actors give magnificent performances.

Overall, this is a terrific film, it is genuinely tense and surprising throughout. My one issue with it is that it does feel a little drawn out and could probably do with a much tighter edit to trim it down. A lot of fun all the same.

Pros.

Chastain and Shannon.

The ambiguous ending.

The tension.

Cons.

It is too long.

A lot of the supporting cast is very forgettable.

3.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

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