Thursday, November 3, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: Take Shelter (2011)

I'm finding it difficult to organize my thoughts about this movie and I think that's the point. Judged solely as a film attempting to tackle the disease of paranoid schizophrenia, it works completely. But it's really much more than that. What makes this film so good is the various other levels it hits on. Subtly, issues like pride, trust, stress and love are explored through the lens of a man slowly losing his mind over the fear of a coming Rapture-like storm. It's a tremendous movie.

Michael Shannon, who has thoroughly enhanced any film he's been a part of it (I'm of course specifically talking about Bad Boys II), delivers a performance as good as any in recent memory. I haven't been captivated by an actor like I was during his Lions Club freakout scene in a very long time. Jessica Chastain, the redheaded beauty from Tree of Life who plays Shannon's wife, is great as well.

There really isn't anything to gripe about. I suppose you could try to dissect how accurate the real life aspects of schizophrenia were portrayed, but that would be missing the point entirely. This doesn't aspire to be anything more than a work of fiction (unlike lesser works, such as A Beautiful Mind). It's a movie about feeling pressure: pressure that you aren't who you're supposed to be, pressure that things you can't control are contorting you and transforming you into this person. And it's about helplessness in the wake of those feelings. Take Shelter is as much about schizophrenia as is it as about weather, which is to say those elements are used to convey emotions and themes about human life and relationships that go far beyond the plot in which they're framed. In that way, it's a timeless story (so rare in this era of hyperculture and rampant nostalgia) and it's executed masterfully.

SCORE: 9 out of 10

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