Take Shelter (Blu-ray)
TAKE SHELTER is a small film with amazing acting from a promising director that went relatively unnoticed. Picking up awards from independent circuits and a few critics circles, it is a definite shame that no one saw this film.
A loving husband and caring father, Curtis (Michael Shannon) is a working class man living in Ohio when he begins to have dreams and visions of life threatening events. The nightmares of a terrible storm on the horizon that causes people and animals to attack him and his family start to affect him physically and emotionally. The dreams turn to lucid vision and Curtis is frightened what this might mean. With a family background of mental illness, Curtis wise enough to realize this might be all in his head but simultaneously believes it enough to start spending a lot of time and money on an underground shelter. Affecting his job, marriage and medical bills for his hearing impaired daughter, Curtis believes these risks are necessary for the future safety for his family.
The true star of the film is Michael Shannon who is nothing short from phenomenal. He might have given the best performance of the year as I have already mentioned in a couple of previous articles. Making my number one choice for top non-nominated performance from 2011 and once again in my Oscar nomination predictions. He barely says a word but every movement and look, speaks a thousand times more clear. His internal struggle between believing what he is seeing and knowing he might very well be going insane is something to behold. Within his dreams his outward panic is just as real as when he is awake. I can’t say enough about Shannon and between his performance from REVELUTIONARY ROAD, THE RUNAWAYS and now TAKE SHELTER, I think he is a major force to recon with in Hollywood. I have no doubt he will make the next Superman film, MAN OF STEEL, infinitely better as General Zod.
With only a couple of films under his belt, I’m excited to see what director and writer Jeff Nichols has next. Capturing the beautiful Ohio landscape, the cinematography is exquisite. At all times the audience feels alone with Curtis, trapped in an open space with no escape from an unknown storm. The quietness is what worked the best with just the slightest of sounds for music and weather elements. Raindrops and lightning never sounded so beautiful and frightening.
TAKE SHELTER is a film you probably will not watch again and again, but anyone who loves movies and acting should take a look at this project on how to make a simple and subtle storyline unusual, captivating and moving. And if nothing else, for the wonderfully restrained and internal performance from Michael Shannon.
Video: (1080p High Definition 2.35:1) The video quality is superb. One of the better pictures I’ve seen. The images and storms are sharply portrayed.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD MA) The audio is excellent as well really in on ever mix of sound. It’s difficult to make such silent film resonate and they do a terrific job.
Commentary with Jeff Nichols & Michael Shannon: These are a couple of quiet introverted guys. They give a deep thoughtful commentary but it’s not the most exciting thing.
Behind the Scenes of TAKE SHELTER (10:34): You get a real sense of everyone’s belief in their small film and their respect for Jeff Nichols who made the film he want to make. They talk about the cast, special effects and location.
Q & A with Michael Shannon & Shea Whigham (19:50): The two are sitting on a stage in chairs next to the questionnaire person. There are a few interesting insights but again, not the most exciting people and the audio is terrible.
Deleted Scenes (5:57): Two scene that use words to explain the inner thoughts rather than the actions. Shannon’s acting is so good these scenes were clearly unnecessary.