Film
12:07 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Walker's Three to See: <i>Take Shelter</i>

KCUR's Steve Walker shares his top movie picks of the week.

Kansas City, MO – Writer/director Jeff Nichols has made a beautiful, strange and profound movie about a husband and father (Michael Shannon) whose fears about being a good provider multiply into some rabid form of apocalyptic paranoia. Shannon brilliantly plays a construction contractor who sleep of late has been disturbed by frightening hints of something ominous. His recognition that he needs some help is abetted his wife (Jessica Chastain, also very good), who suggests that he needs to attend church more, and complicated by the fact that his mother (Kathy Baker) was diagnosed as schizophrenic in her thirties. He tries therapy and medication as well but the dreams keep coming, effectively ratcheting up the skillfully orchestrated tension. The movie's unsettling starkness is also helped by its minimalist screenplay, with lines like, "If this thing comes true, there ain't gonna be anymore." What simultaneously grounds and levitates the movie is Shannon's performance. He's always been good at playing high-strung men of probing stares and few words. Here, he's absolutely staggering.