Take Shelter is written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud, Midnight Special) and is an interesting look at the issues surrounding mental illness and the resulting social stigma.
“It’s hard to explain, because it’s not just a dream, it’s a feeling. I’m afraid something might be coming. Something not right.”
Curtis (Michael Shannon – The Shape of Water, Nocturnal Animals) is a young husband and father who has a seemingly ideal life. Living in the small town of Lagrange, Ohio with his lovely wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain – Interstellar, The Martian), they have a beautiful deaf daughter Hannah (Tova Stewart).
Curtis has a good job, with excellent medical insurance and all seems well. However, he begins to be plagued by strange dreams and waking hallucinations. He sees ominous storm clouds, erratic behaviour from birds and a thick brown rain falling from the sky.
He also starts to have paranoid dreams about those closest to him, fearing an attack from the family dog he puts him in a cage outside in the garden, much to the consternation of his family.
He keeps all of this from Samantha but she can see his health and sanity deteriorating, especially when he becomes obsessed with building a storm shelter in the backyard. His family and job are on the line but still he continues.
Worried about his mental health because his mother has schizophrenia, he seeks help, but are his visions premonition, or is he really losing his mind?
Take Shelter is very well written and the acting performances are superb across the board. It is certainly an interesting examination of mental illness and the sense of foreboding is well built, however it is very slow moving and while I understand the thinking behind that, I found it dragged in places.
It also does feel too long, maybe half an hour shorter would have been better. That said, it’s a good watch and an interesting take on an apocalypse film and well worth adding to your collection if you are a fan of the genre.
“This is what it means to stay with us. This is something you have to do.”
Take Shelter is available to buy now on Limited Edition Blu-ray.