Take Shelter Review

“Jeff Nichols again gives it his all in this movie.”

Take Shelter is the second film by the great writer/director Jeff Nichols and it is every bit as good as his first. Take Shelter is about Curtis LaForche (played by Michael Shannon) who starts having terrible nightmares that seem to be warning him about an impending apocalypse. Things only get worse as his visions start taking over his life and everyone around him starts to notice. Honestly, this movie is a masterpiece. I’m still going to go more in depth, but honestly I don’t think there is one thing wrong with this movie.

The first thing that I want to talk about in Take Shelter is the amazing writing. Jeff Nichols again gives it his all in this movie. The movie as a whole is wonderfully written, but there are some stand outs for me. One of those stand outs is the line “If I open that door, nothing changes”. Just like with Shotgun Stories, I’m not going to spoil this movie, but that line and the scene that surrounds it is very powerful. There is also the ending of the movie which again I think is wonderfully done. It wraps up the story so nicely, and gives you something to think about after the credits stop rolling. And of course, the “There’s a storm coming” scene, which not only is absolutely amazing writing, but also probably my favourite Michael Shannon performance. That brings me to my next discussion point, the acting. Every single person in Take Shelter does an amazing job, even characters with no dialogue. I’m not sure if Jeff Nichols just has great taste in actors, or if he is such a good director that he can get a great performance out of anyone, but whatever it is it works. Honestly, the only problem I had with the acting was it seemed like at one point, for a split second, Jessica Chastain forgot her line and kind of broke character. I’m not sure if that is really what happened, but it stuck out to me. Keep in mind that is a fraction of a scene in a two hour movie, so it doesn’t matter at all. Now that I brought up the run time, I have to again mention that this movie feels slow to me. If you read my review for Shotgun Stories, you’ll know what I am talking about. Jeff Nichols’ films always seem much longer to me than they actually are, but I will say again that I do not find them boring, nor do I count that as a flaw of the movies. Not only is this movie great on a writing and acting level, but also on a technical level. First of all, the soundtrack to Take Shelter is absolutely gorgeous. It doesn’t really kick in until the end of the movie, but when it does it is amazing. And even when it is just creeping around in the background it does a great job of keeping he tone of the film. And then of course the camerawork. Much like Shotgun Stories, the camerawork is still very much reserved while still being effective, and that is a good thing. There are two shots that really stuck out to me as being very well executed. One of the shots is a P.O.V. shot during a dream sequence that does an absolutely stellar job at building tension. And then a few scenes later there is a shot that is static, but the amount of movement from the actors within the shot make it feel like a stage play.

Take Shelter is a very well executed movie, with an absolutely fantastic story. I suggest that everyone reading this go and see it.

I give Take Shelter an A

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