2011. Directed by Jeff Nichols
Take Shelter is a quiet nightmare. It takes a minimalist approach to tell the story of a man's slow descent into madness as he begins to have visions of an impending disaster and his response is to obsessively construct a storm shelter for his family.
Michael Shannon delivers the performance of his career, which is already packed with amazing roles, and puts everything on display. His turn requires the utmost attention and almost demands an immediate rewatch in order to chronicle every detail of his delicate and ultimately unforgettable take on the mental health genre.
Nichols direction is restrained and terse. This is a small film, filled with small details and subtle psychological cues that slowly build dread in every corner of the screen and beyond it. You know there is danger, but it's impossible to determine if it's real or imagined and thus you're now enraptured in the narrative
Jessica Chastain plays opposite Shannon as his wife, desperately trying to protect her daughter and hold her husband's sanity together by any means necessary. Her ability to show the struggles of the modern marriage compounded by unforeseeable hardship with normalcy and understanding is astounding..
Every shot is filled with beauty and terror and it's this paradox that shows the power of Adam's Stone's cinematography. It's quite rare that a camera is able to illicit such emotional opposites without overwhelming the eye and it's done here with extreme care and respect for the audience, allowing the images to guide them as they make their own conclusions.
The storm sequence is one of the most terrifying and exhausting scenes in modern film and I'm staying deliberately vague as to not spoil what I believe to be a true example of fear and love battling one another for supremacy over the soul.
Shannon's apocalyptic dialogue during the film's climax has to be seen to believed and it sets the tone for the final act. Is he insane or is the end of creation truly coming?
You'll have to watch to find out.