FILM: Take Shelter

So you want to see Michael Shannon acting up a storm about a storm?  Go see Take Shelter. Fipresci Prize-winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this film Jeff Nichols both wrote and directed is as much a lament on the modern American man’s everyday plight as it is a statement on the paranio of our modern existence. As Nichols said, “I wrote Take Shelter because I believed there was a feeling out in the world that was palpable. It was an anxiety that was very real in my life and I had the notion it was very real in the lives of other Americans as well as other people around the world.”

I won’t say too much about that anxiety as I don’t want to ruin one laconic moment of the erosion and liquid-y brilliance that is, at times, some truly unnerving yet subtle special effects by  hy*drau”lx and an equally stunning acting. Suffice it to say the supporting players here, Jessica Chastain as Shannon’s wife and Shea Whigham as his best bud/co-worker, Dewart, are spectacular, but this is Shannon’s movie. And while there are a few plot points here I felt were over-worked, it’s a pleasure seeing a guy as good as Shannon get his due. From his stiff and sturdy lawman on Boardwalk Empire, to playing the wacky Kim Fowley in The Runaways (a sadly overlooked film) to his Curtis LaForche here, if Mr. Shannon isn’t one of our best actors working presently I don’t know who is.

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