TAKE SHELTER (2011)
It is unfortunate that such a thought provoking film as Take Shelter was given such a limited release (at least in the UK). It deserved a bigger audience and a more mainstream award recognition. The writing, direction and brilliant acting all work together to drive this heartbreaking production.
What would you do if , like Curtis (Michael Shannon), you felt schizophrenia getting hold of you? If you were having apocalyptic visions, picturing yourself and your family in danger? Whom or what would you protect them from? The thought of losing one’s mind is terrifying, so is the idea of dealing with it alone. But Curtis’ family is already dealing with enough problems. He cannot bear to trouble them with this new burden. Rather, he attempts to keep providing for them as he believes a husband/father should. Even if it means falling into denial and building a shelter to protect them from his visions (rather than himself).
Take Shelter is about obsession, mainly the growing obsession of a father to protect and provide for his family as a mental illness/breakdown slowly takes hold of him. It is also about sticking together as a family in the toughest times. Michael Shannon is poignant as Curtis, the helpless yet introverted protagonist, and Jessica Chastain is also very moving as the loving wife doing everything she can to understand and help her husband.
The film may feel a bit slow at times as there is little drive to the story and a lot of Curtis sitting in the dark worrying and building a storm shelter. However, Take Shelter definitely works as a reflection of the distressing affliction that is mental illness, both on the families and on the sufferers themselves.