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Sundance 2011 Review: TAKE SHELTER was a Pitch Perfect Film

Take Shelter has landed the top spot of my favorite films that I’ve seen up at The Sundance Film Festival. This movie simply blew me away! It's a fantastic story, the acting was top notch greatness, and its subject matter was  fascinating. Upon my first viewing of the film, I have to say it was flawless. The pacing was perfect, and it hit every right note along the way. There is not one thing in the movie that I didn’t like. This film delivered on all levels of greatness.

I really didn’t know much about the film before I saw it. I read the synopsis and saw that it starred Michael Shannon, and that was enough to get me excited about seeing the movie. I had no idea it would end up being this amazing though. 

The story takes place in a small town in Ohio and follows a man named Curtis LaForche, played by Shannon. Curtis has a wife named Samantha and a deaf six-year-old daughter named Hannah. The family is in a very good and positive state until Curtis starts to have these terrifying realistic dreams and visions of a giant storm. The physical feelings from these dreams stay with him even after he wakes up. For example, in one of his dreams his dog bites him, and he feels the pain of the dog bite the rest of the day after he is awake. He doesn’t tell anybody about his dreams at first, because he feels he’s going insane. He starts to believe the visions he’s having mean something. He feels that a storm is coming, and he needs to prepare for it, so he becomes obsessed with building a storm shelter in his back yard. He’s trying his best to keep it together, but his life starts to unravel and fall apart. It ends up causing heavy problems with his marriage and the community in which he lives.

Shannon intensely explodes on screen in this film, giving an Academy Award winning performance. This movie sealed Shannon’s place as one of my favorite actors working in Hollywood today, joining the ranks of Daniel Day Lewis, Edward Norton, and Tom Hanks. Shannon is simply incredible, and I really hope to see him get more leading role offers after this film. He gives such an extraordinarily intense performance. 

I loved the intensity of this movie. You have no idea what is really going on, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat, and it always keeps you guessing. This all leads up to one of the best and most satisfying endings in a film that I’ve seen in a very long time. 

I absolutely loved this movie. I honestly couldn’t ask for anything better. It was a pitch-perfect film, and it is one that you have to see when it gets a theatrical release. I’d like to see this one go all the way to the Academy Awards next year, just like last year's Sundance hit Winter’s Bone did. Take Shelter is a movie masterpiece. 

Here’s the synopsis for the film:

Following his acclaimed debut, Shotgun Stories, writer/director Jeff Nichols reteams with actor Michael Shannon to create a haunting tale that will creep under your skin and expose your darkest fears.

Curtis LaForche lives in a small town in Ohio with his wife, Samantha, and daughter, Hannah, a six-year-old deaf girl. When Curtis begins to have terrifying dreams, he keeps the visions to himself, channeling his anxiety into obsessively building a storm shelter in his backyard. His seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns and confounds those closest to him, but the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within his community can’t compare with Curtis’s privately held fear of what his dreams may truly signify. 

Take Shelter features fully realized characters crumbling under the weight of real-life problems. Using tone and atmosphere to chilling effect, Nichols crafts a powerful psychological thriller that is a disturbing tale for our times.

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