Title: Take Shelter
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
This doomsday psycho-drama is a precious gem from indie director Jeff Nichols, boosted by an extraordinary acting impetus from Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain pair.
A working class point-of-view towards the Armageddon has been laboriously concocted through an ordinary worker’s psychosis degeneration and the clashes between him and the mundane world.
Comparison with last year’s another high-profile end-of-the-world allegory upon mental predicament, Lars von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA (2011), which certainly falls into a more glossy bourgeois temperament, TAKE SHELTER cannily skimps on its spectacular paranormal visual exploit, which competently generates a suspenseful circumstance curbs its audience firmly sitting in their seats.
A jaded Michael Shannon gives not only his career best but also the optimum performance of the year inside out. This is a once-a-lifetime chance for any actor to revel in his own flair while the script affluently proffer both awards-baiting, stoic struggle inside and the more explosive outburst, which are all being accomplished by Mr. Shannon in his strongest suit! (who sits comfily at my No. 2 male leading performance of the year).
Jessica Chastain, ranks now my current No. 1 in the supporting actress category for this film (prolifically she occupies 3 spots in my top 10 list), the good-wife image may overlap with THE TREE OF LIFE (2011), but here she is granted more spacious and substantial work to render, particularly from the latter half, her tension between Michael Shannon is the key point to grab all the highly-suspended attentions, which delivers a miraculous rapport until the portentous culmination.
The finale seems like a belated condolence for the distressful soul being denied by all the sources, and its ambiguous interpretation also casts an impressive mental impact to those who are bemused meanwhile it is lingering with a poignant aftertaste.
A significant job from Jeff Nichols, he is now my No. 5 in BEST DIRECTOR and the film obtains my bronze medal of the year 2011, so far (following SHAME and HUGO), just like SHAME, its downright shut-off by the academy awards is an unapologetic faux pas since it is thecrème de la crèmet of the output from Indiewood in 2011.