Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Leading Man

Take Shelter     WWW Score: 85%

Michael Shannon is one of those guys you'd never pick out as a leading man - an odd-looking, gangly chap - ideally suited as a character actor and a quite remarkable one as his Oscar-nominated role in "Revolutionary Road" more than proved. But Shannon's career just got an upgrade - a once-in-a-lifetime role in the end-of-the-world-minus-the-zombies Oscar-hopeful "Take Shelter" - and Shannon sticks the landing.

Shannon plays an everyman living in Anywheresville, Ohio - working construction, living the working class life with his wife (a strong Jessica Chastain) and deaf daughter in tow. As one of Shannon's co-workers puts it: "(Shannon) has a good life - the best compliment you can give a man". But that "good life" starts to crack as Shannon's character begins to have bizarre nightmares of something wicked coming his way - the nightmares escalating to daytime visions of things like flocks of crows flying in bizarrely erratic formations and the puncturing sound of cannon fire. So what action does Shannon choose to take?  Replacing his pre-installed backyard bomb shelter with a shipping container straight off a barge on Lake Erie - preparing for the oncoming "storm" - the logical choice.

At its core, "Take Shelter" is a story about the fears we face these days - job security chief among them - with so many hanging on by a thread. And while "Take Shelter" isn't by any means a perfect movie (writer/director Jeff Nichols could use a refresher course on editing), it's a powerful one - displaying a devolvement into insanity that ultimately proves to be quite visionary.