Saturday, January 26, 2013

Take Shelter Movie Review - An intense psychological dramatization of the apocalypse

In Take Shelter, a man is faced with visions of a unique and upcoming apocalyptic calamity and takes the necessary steps to protect him and his family.

The interest for apocalyptic and post apocalyptic movies has been going up these days and as a result we are getting a slew of very sci fi and out of this world presentations of the end of the world. However, even if Take Shelter is one of these kinds of movies it ultimately brings a more human and tamed narrative of an upcoming disastrous event with numerous twists and turns and haunting sequences which are incredible and play amazingly well on screen.

The basic structure of the movie is that Curtis, played by the amazing Michael Shannon, starts having visions of a coming storm. First they plagued his dreams then it slowly creeps into his reality. Though the concept of the movie deals with the apocalypse, it focuses on the coping of Curtis with his visions and how he drags his family, coworkers and friends along the way. In my opinion it is directly comparable to The Shining in structure but the film takes a huge turn near the end followed by a sort of open ended but perfectly satisfying ending.

The visions are intense and foreboding

This movie is without a doubt really powerful. The whole movie was overbearing on the gloom and doom but it was fine since that is what the movie is all about and the cast and crew executed this incredible vision amazingly well.

The acting was superb. Michael Shannon for the first half of the movie gave a relatively tame and conserved performance then absolutely exploded by the end. His character was unbelievably well rounded and you couldn't help but feel bad but still speclative of his predicament. Also, Jessica Chastain was really good in this movie, as with most of her works. She plays Curtis' wife who seems so innocent and caring you can feel the chemistry between her, Curtis and their child in the movie. It felt real. And it dealt with the psychological aspect when it comes to preparing for the uncertain and fear of the unknown as much as the apocalyptic visions themselves. The acting, dialogue and script meshed together so well it was a treat to watch on screen.

Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain's acting simply blew it out of the park

I would also like to reiterate that Take Shelter has one of the best endings I've seen in cinema. At one point you will be thinking that this movie will take a typical turn and end it that way, but then you realize the movie isn't done yet and presents you with an even better ending that made me gasp in excitement and disbelief. I would like to think it was conclusive, but the structure of the last scenes made it open for interpretation. It kills me to not know how everything actually ended but the payoff for thinking and deliberating the events that transpired and are about to transpire after the end credits is incredible. This of course isn't an Inception-like deal. Yes, nothing as bizzare as that.

I love the effects they used for the storms and the visions. The sound design was really great and it made these visions of the apocalypse that much more exciting. There are lot of points where you are in a state of suspension of disbelief but it didn't matter since almost everything about the visuals and audio you experience watching this movie is very well crafted and served the narrative until the credits rolled.

Moving and extremely terrifying at the same time

Take Shelter has easily become one of the best films I have ever seen. It sported a concept that some might consider mundane and overused and transformed it into something you most probably haven't seen done in movies. Take Shelter was honest and raw and every bit of the movie was tense and thrilling. That and the very satisfying ending makes Take Shelter earn its place into one of the best movies of all time.


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