In Take Shelter, Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) plays Curtis, a blue-collar man who works hard to take care of his loving wife and deaf daughter. This tranquil life is shattered when Curtis begins having disturbing dreams about a coming storm.
He writes off the dreams as nightmares, but as the days wear on, the dreams become more real and he becomes incapable of functioning. Confused by these apocalyptic visions, Curtis can’t decide whether he’s a modern-day prophet or experiencing the early onset of mental illness. With his job at risk, Curtis covers three bases, mortgaging the house, building up a storm shelter and seeing a psychologist at the free clinic.
The genius of films like Take Shelter is that they put you squarely on Curtis’ side, even while you doubt his sanity. The film has such a pervasive sense of malaise that you almost hope disaster will strike, just so Curtis can be proven right. As well as a virtuoso performance from Shannon, I enjoyed director Jeff Nichols’ (Shotgun Stories) brilliant use of small-budget effects.