Thursday, December 29, 2011

Take Shelter

Something's coming. Terrorists. Climate change. Financial collapse. Something's just not right. Everyone feels it. The world is closing in around us and we aren't safe. Don't say you weren't warned.

In Take Shelter, Curtis' sleep is curtailed by uneasy dreams. Storms of viscous, oily rain, strangers kidnapping his daughter on the road, his own dog attacking him. Then he wakes up feeling the latent effects of his dreams. He feels the dog bite from his dream all day the next day.

The movie not only deals with themes at a subtextual level, it also plays topically with the issue of health care. The daughter needs a surgery and an appointment is scheduled. Curtis has a steady job and good insurance. Then he takes out a large loan, gets fired, loses his insurance. It all seems to happen in an instant. His delusions (or premonitions) have direct, tangible consequences. It's not just his potential mental instability or financial difficulty, but his daughter's ability to hear could be permanently compromised.

This is the second collaboration between star, Michael Shannon, and director Jeff Shannon. Their first movie together was 2007's Shotgun Stories, a family saga about retribution among the estranged sons of a father's two families and it's every bit as good as Take Shelter, so I recommend you seek that one out too. I might even let you borrow it if you ask nicely.

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