Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

Take Shelter

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on October 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM


Jeff Nichols


IDEA:  A family man in a small Ohio town invests in a storm shelter after being plagued by crazed nightmares and hallucinations.

BLURB:  Take Shelter hinges on the idea that something bad is coming. Whether that thing is an apocalyptic storm, a familial collapse, or a pandemic of infectious fear is unclear; all that can be known, or felt, rather, is that things are just not right. This we come to understand through Curtis, whose foreboding paranoid visions of massive dark clouds and birds falling from the sky signal either a serious Earthly disaster or a complete psychological unraveling – or both. As he becomes more and more crazed, pouring himself into the development of an expensive storm shelter out back, we see a man desperately, obsessively trying to ensure the security of all that he has and loves. The film taps into something very real, building a low key unease that unsettlingly picks up on a world of unpredictable dread, teetering on the brink of meltdown. It reflects the anxieties of our economic unrest, the fundamental panic of losing all that we have to a climate out of our control. About 20 minutes too long, sections of the film feel bloated and extraneous. Yet its mood is frightening, its themes resonant. If Curtis’s delusions are just that – delusions – then by the end we begin to believe them.

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