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Take Shelter (Blu-ray Review)

7 Feb, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 2/14/12
Sony Pictures
Box Office $1.72 million
$30.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for some language.
Stars Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Kathy Baker, Katy Mixon, Shea Whigham, Tova Stewart.

It must be dreadful believing you are going crazy, especially if your mother is institutionalized with schizophrenia.

That’s the predicament easygoing Curtis (Michael Shannon, Oscar nominee from Revolutionary Road), a lanky construction worker in the compelling Take Shelter, finds himself facing living with sympathetic wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain, an Oscar nominee for The Help) and a hearing-impaired daughter.

With its vast 180-degree skyline and piercing blue sky, rural Kansas is the perfect setting for a slower, simpler life. It’s a lifestyle that at times appears as tenuous as the fluffy clouds that suddenly produce severe afternoon thunderstorms, or worse.

“You’ve got a good life, Curtis,” says best friend and co-worker Dewart (played by Shannon’s “Boardwalk Empire” co-star Shea Whigham).

But how good can it really be when Curtis wakes up to terrifying dreams of strangers attacking him, zombies looking in the windows, bed-wetting, the family dog biting him and Samantha standing in the kitchen dripping wet with a knife?

Curtis’ world seems so fraught with impending doom that he takes to borrowing his employer’s backhoe to expand the underground backyard storm shelter, an exercise in unbudgeted spending that also gets the frugal everyman fired.

But is he really going insane? Storm clouds can come in many forms, including illusions of crazy birds, brownish rain falling from the sky, ominous funnel clouds and paranoia.

“You think I’m crazy? Well, listen up, there’s a storm coming like nothing you’ve ever seen, and not a one of you is prepared for it,” Curtis yells to stunned co-workers at the company barbecue.

Yeah, reality can be enough to drive anyone crazy.

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