Take Shelter is the story of a seemingly plain Ohio husband and father who is suddenly beset by a serious of eerie hallucinations and dreams that drive him to worry about his own mental health. Should he heed the portentous signals or commit himself to psychological therapy or more?
The acting here is spot-on. The lead could not have been better cast with Michael Shannon. His look and expressions provide exactly the type of curiosity called for here.
The film is supposed to be a study in measured suspense but that genre—at least for me—requires that the tension never relent and just keep slowly applying the pressure. Unfortunately Take Shelter moves at an entirely unacceptable pace. Our screening was full of people commenting quietly about how slow it all materializes. Once the full story was told I was certain the entire experience could have been much more interesting as a 30-minute Twilight Zone episode. At two hours it’s just painful to get through.
Another major problem I had with it (and so did others based on the same quiet chatter I mentioned) is that many times (at least a dozen) the story purposely hints at some fairly obvious (but possibly far more interesting) plot twist only to then turn immediately back to the mundane story we already have.
There are good moments but they’re very fleeting. The cinematography is noteworthy as it fits the intended goal extremely well. Everything has a very dream-like feel about it. The score isn’t up to the same level as the look. It’s workable but nothing special.
Unfortunately it’s also all marred by a feeling of it being entirely unbelievable with an ending I found to be completely unsatisfying and disappointing. When you’ve got that sort of payoff coupled with what feels like an incredibly overly long running time then you’ve got the makings of film best left for cable if even that.