If you enjoy edge-of-your-seat psychological thrillers, I suggest you stop reading right now and go see Take Shelter. In one of the best movies I have seen all year, Michael Shannon (The Runaways, Revolutionary Road) gives a truly unforgettable performance as Curtis, a husband and father who believes he is struggling with a newly formed mental illness……but is he?
Director Jeff Nichols brings to the screen a multifaceted story, reaching many levels of human emotion. Curtis deals with things we all experience: strained relationships, unemployment, and the death of loved ones. But do we handle these issues while suffering from apocalyptic hallucinations, delusions and freakish nightmares? The line between what is reality and what is in the mind is completely blurred, and Curtis digs himself into a deeper and deeper hole (literally and figuratively).
Unable to communicate with his wife, Curtis delves further into a dark place, fearing the end of the world. The anxiety and terror overcomes every aspect of his life and causes him to make major changes that no one understands. Piece by piece, Curtis’s life begins to fall apart, and his solitary journey continues into despair.
This movie is the definition of the drama genre, and I am not exaggerating when I say my heart was pounding the entire time. The tension and apprehension that these characters convey is contagious and the last scene will…… well, you will just have to find out. Rachel Gearhardt, a senior college student who saw the movie on opening night adds, “The ending was the culmination of what was a very intense and thought-provoking movie.”
Aside from the high caliber cast, the film’s original music by David Wingo was nothing short of haunting. Paired with the incredible special effects done by the same company that worked on Avatar and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, this movie is a recipe for a suspenseful experience you will not soon forget.
One of the more remarkable things about production that I learned in a post-film Q&A session with producer Tyler Davidson was that this picture was shot in a mere 24 days. Davidson mentioned that the film was produced entirely out of order and some of the work days lasted an entire 24 hours. There is no way an audience could ever tell that time was such an issue because the quality of production goes above and beyond. Jonathan McNeal, owner of The Neon, who attended the Toronto Film Festival and viewed 34 films over the span of just nine days ranked it among his top three favorites. The film has been nominated for six awards and won at the Cannes Film Festival and the Hollywood Film Festival.
A few words of advice for when you “take shelter” at The Neon, don’t forget your gas mask.