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Take Shelter

Directed by Jeff Nichols

USA, 2011

Cornerhouse, November 2011

Take Shelter

Michael Shannon makes this movie, which for the most part is a riveting study of mental illness.

He has an extraordinarily expressive face, akin to a hero in a Steve Ditko comic.  It is an American face, certainly, and has something of the same sensitive, elemental quality to be found in Sterling Hayden’s face or Van Heflin’s.

The film keeps all its options open (is Curtis suffering from mental illness or experiencing some kind of premonition?) and there are surprises to be had right up until the very end.  But whether the final scene is a cop-out or a contrivance or a telling vindication, I’ll leave it for you to judge.

If Michael Shannon doesn’t get an Oscar for his performance here, there is simply no justice in the world.