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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Take Shelter Review

Take Shelter Review
2011, 120 minutes
Rated R for some language

Take Shelter is Jeff Nichol's second feature film and is brilliant.  I know I've said this about the past couple of films I've reviewed, but these films are the best out there.  I try to only go to see the best.  Life is too short and money is too scarce to see all of the junk.  Anyway, Take Shelter is amazing mainly due to its original story and Michael Shannon's mind-blowing performance.  He carries much of the film's weight himself.  Take Shelter focuses on Curtis LaForche and his increasingly frightening and intense visions of apocalyptic storms.  The question is: is Curtis a modern prophet or a paranoid schizophrenic?
Michael Shannon turns in a performance that only few could achieve.  He keeps the audience on the edge of their seats the whole time and provides an extra dose of power and emotion to an already exciting film. He completely convinces the audience that he is LaForche and keeps us guessing about whether he is or isn't crazy the whole time.  If he does not get an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, something's wrong.

Jeff Nichol's screenplay is excellent as it raises compelling points about Curtis that mirror our whole culture.  It asks whether the people we think are crazy really are or if we are the crazy ones.  This question culminates into an intense climax that makes way for one of the most brilliant finales of the year.  The dialogue that Nichols gives his actors is completely realistic and the situations he places them in are perfect.  The pacing Nichols gives to this film is also perfect because it is not too fast and not too slow.  It just moves at its own pace and lets the audience savor the genius. Take Shelter is only Nichol's second film and I just saw that he has two more lined up, Mud and Native.  He is another exciting talent to watch for and I look forward to his next films.

Overall, Take Shelter is another American masterpiece.  It is powerfully acted, very suspenseful, satisfying, and has a very unique message for the times.  If this under seen film is playing in a theatre near you, you must see it.  I've had few moviegoing experiences this year that rival the raw power of Take Shelter.

-Joshua Handler

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