Film: “Take Shelter” a slow-burning work of art

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November 18th, 2011

Omaha, NE – One of the best-acted and most thrilling movies of the year is now playing at Film Streams. The Reader’s Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood from the Movieha podcast, have this review of Take Shelter.

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Ryan: Writer/director Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter treated my mind like a five year old with ADD in an elevator.

Matt: I don’t follow.

Take Shelter runs through Nov. 22 at Filmstreams.

Ryan: This film pushed all of my buttons. Some of them twice. Part Twilight Zone, part intensely actor-driven character study, this sparse thriller is a gorgeous, slow-burning work of art.

Matt: Michael Shannon, who best not make other plans for Oscar night, plays Curtis, a gee-shucks average Joe who works construction and loves his family. Other than dealing with an upcoming operation for his deaf daughter, things are pretty durn okey dokey for ole Curtis. Right up until he starts having nightmares.

Ryan: And these aren’t ordinary nightmares. These are grown-men wetting the bed nightmares about an apocalyptic storm that will destroy the world and turn folks into murderous zombies. Because his mother developed schizophrenia and abandoned Curtis, he fears the same fate, so he begins trying to balance preparing for a possible Armageddon with trying to stay sane.

Matt: Shannon is exceedingly brilliant, choosing not to get bogged down in bombastic overacting and scenery chewing. Instead, his breakdown is quiet, stoic, and sad. And the more he keeps that tension bubbling inside, the more the film makes that feeling start bubbling in the audience’s throat.

Ryan: You’re right about Shannon, but his wife, played by the angelic Jessica Chastain, is equally spectacular. She too avoids the usual hysterics in favor of nuanced character beats. The reality of all it all is precisely what makes it so white-knuckle intense, as it builds to a climax even the audience fears.

Matt: Like butter on my popcorn, all I need is a light touch of sci-fi to make a movie delicious. And the concept here is absolutely savory.

Ryan: We live in an era when everybody thinks the key to thrills and chills is in explosions, jump scares, and screaming. How wonderful to find a film that knows that sometimes the scariest part isn’t the boo, but the silence that precedes it.

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