Take Shelter is a film about a man who may be having visions warning of coming disaster, or he may be on the brink of a psychotic break. Curtis is a hardworking man who has all the kinds of shelter we look for in life: a home, a good job, health insurance, friends, and a good marriage to his near-saint of a wife, Samantha. He and Samantha are working through the hurdles of bringing up their beautiful daughter who is deaf, acting as shelter for her as they learn sign language and try to help her connect with the world.
But Curtis’s fears are growing beyond the possible protection of that shelter. And the only way he can find to combat his fear is to protect his family. He becomes obsessed with building a tornado shelter, among other measures. His sources of protection strain his relationships, including his marriage.
Director Jeff Nichols lets viewers into Curtis’s growing dread through some chilling nightmares, which are unsettling without reaching the realm of horror. Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain are wonderful as a couple walking through the valley of the shadow of death, where the shelters we construct are not enough.
This is a slow-moving but well-crafted movie, a commentary on the anxious times we live in, and it has an ending that will leave some viewers gratified and some mystified. Either way, it will leave you with lots to talk about. On DVD now; rated R for language. (Sony)