Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols)

If you saw Revolutionary Road, you will know that it wasn’t Leonardo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet that stole the show, but Michael Shannon, as the paranoid schizophrenic/ hyper-observant truth-sayer. Here he shows his talent for playing characters with mental disorders as Curtis, an Ohio family man whose disturbing dreams cause him to become obsessed with the apocalypse.

His is implosion is mesmerising to watch, growing from his distrustful slit eyes peering into the sky to a man spasming out of control, sweating cold beads of fear down his screwed-up angst ridden face. His vivid nightmares, which are almost undistinguishable from his waking life, pull the audience into a hell where friends and family are vicious killers.

Curtis tries to hide his troubles from his wife (Jessica Chastain- in her 7th major feature this year!) and deaf daughter, but when he begins building an underground shelter in the garden his wife urges him to see a psychiatrist.

The dream-sequences are Inception-like, becoming like a miniature Melancholia in grandeur, using CGI to its best effect. Lightening veins in the sky are made into a believable threat, with the character of the storms becoming as wild as Wuthering Heights.

Director Jeff Nichols proves his worth in his second feature film, after Shotgun Stories ’07, starring Shannon also. Winner of the Critics Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Take Shelter has taken festivals by storm and wowed worldwide.

In cinemas now

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