Doctor's Review of Take Shelter
Have you ever played Jenga? Me neither, but it's that wood block stacking game. Imagine playing that game with an opponent who has an incredibly steady hand, and therefore you have to use all your concentration and painstakingly analyze every move. For two hours you've held your focus and are convinced you can get the better of them....when suddenly their large dog runs into the room, bumps the table, and the entire wood block tower comes crashing down. Sitting stunned among the debris, you eventually ask yourself, "What have I been doing here?"
That's what watching Take Shelter was like.
Take Michael Shannon out of the equation, and this extremely slow story would be unendurable. If you've never seen the guy before, he projects an intensity that is almost frightening. A style that reminds me of Jack Nicholson from The Last Detail or The Shining. Something is bubbling beneath the surface and you never know when it will boil over; when it finally does here it's a scene to remember. I suggest you watch William Friedkin's Bug instead for a vastly superior uneasy movie experience with a similarly disturbed Shannon.