Mar 13, 2012

Take Shelter, 2011

Take Shelter, 2011
Director: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Mike Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham

Stage: Home theatre

Take Shelter in short: Curtis, a father and husband, is starting to experience bad dreams and hallucinations. Assuming mental illness, he seeks medical help and counseling. However, fearing the worst, he starts building an elaborate and expensive storm shelter in their backyard. This storm shelter threatens to tear apart his family, threatens his sanity and his standing in the community, but he builds it to save his family's life.

Preps: The winning one of our LIFFE festival in Ljubljana. I was cut off with the tickets, grr. Therefore I waited for the HD home version. THe one in the oven. The one presumeably to see. I want to see it for some time now. After my Oscar dedicated week, it's time.

Reality: This one is one of more extraordinary ones and a good way to see the development of events, should preminitions have any value. In some sense, it shows how a pretty decent family falls down to its knees and burns in hell of psychiatry. A strong worker suddenly crashes because of preminitions he has, some weird dreams he cannot drive away even at daytime? Sounds weird, but believable. The chain of reactions he has on this dreams, is devastating. I admit sitting there with my mouth widely opened, as he starts being aggressive, putting his dog outside, to start with (which you never do if you love the animal, only if the animal is threathening or you are convinced it will harm you - nor you give it away for that matter!). He continues with the shelter, risking all the money he has to provide something solid for the storm that is supposed to come.
Something genuine in these deeds, that derives from historical role of a guy. To provide shelter and to protect the family. In some sense, they just didn't show the deer he shoots on his way back to the cave. So I get this idea he has, I am just deeply disturbed that it took wild dreams and halucinations to do this and that he didn't think of this in the first place. Now, the delivery of his idea and his fears, is horrible and makes the relationship almost fall apart at the very beginning. It is strange, how he behaves, obviously he doesn't react to his wife's call for help or her observations. The pride, before he takes a deep dive into the doctor's world and tries to help himself, isn't appropriate, yet fits to his masculinum figure he shows. The construction worker. Provider of the family. Tuff guy. No place for doctor there. I am sure you can imagine what I mean by this, but it fits perfectly. After the pride is gone, it's a downstream - we are like in this big river we cannot resist and we are watching how things are falling apart. Plus, you have the feeling that none of the characters can do anything about it.

I am mostly positively surprised to see Jessica Chastain in the mother serious role in this piece (seeing her lately in The Help made me wonder if she switched genres - despite the fact that I liked her witty side). Besides, roles like this in Take Shelter are her best appeareance so far. The Tree of life was also one of her good ones, also The Debt. All of the named ones serious drama genres with a good cast). Definitely a rising star in the industry. I love to see her in serious roles and I sense her energy. Plus, she's incredibly cute.

The movie will touch you and leave you stunned. It will ewoke some of the feelings you dare not to feel. And you will try very hard to understand the nature of the disease and the reasons behind Curtis' decisions. Don't overwhelm yourself. You will find shelter in psychological reasons, which don't need an explanation, because the territory is very unknown.

I don't know if I would call this the best movie I have seen on LIFFE, but definitely one of the more imaginative and interesting ones. The scenes are extremely well put together, the dillusions are great. Also, great to see Carol from Picket Fences as Curtis' mom. A good connection or possible explanation to the reality Curtis is facing now would be her illness.

All in all, the movie has a lot of attributes which puts it above the average and definitely worth considering. It is very dark, but I am sure that people that loved The Tree of Life or similar ones, will also pay attention and appreciate this piece.

My personal rating: 7,0 (good piece, but very hard to swallow, depressive and anxious at some moments - in the worst possible meaning, because it makes you truly sad).

Take Shelter on IMDB

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