Every now and again an actor takes his career on an almost perfect journey and you can see them become a better, wiser actor in the process. Anyone who remembers Michael Shannon as far back as his bit role in Groundhog Day, has seen this happen to him. Early in his career he took roles whose purpose was purely to act and not necessarily all that selective, but hey, an actors gotta work. No one would have watched Kangaroo Jack and predicted that he would be one of the best and most under appreciated actors working today. He was and is a hard working actor that has since proved his ability to make his mark in a film and now carry one on his back.
It wasn’t until 2008’s Revolutionary Road that people really started realizing his great ability as an actor when he played the mentally challenged John Givings for which he received and Academy Award nomination.
Michael Shannon has hit an all time high in his latest film with director Jeff Nichols. Take Shelter is the story of a hard working family man named Curtis who begins having dreams and at times what he feels are visions of the beginning of the end of the world. Unknown whether he needs to protect his family from these events or if he is the danger. His attempt to learn about what is happening leads him back to his schizophrenic mother and to a doctors office. After his actions and feelings cost him his job and quite nearly his family he begins to accept the help his wife pleads with him to get.
While the film is not one that will appeal to a wide variety and almost certainly not to the casual movie goer, it is non the less engrossing and, in a sense, addictive. Take Shelter is one of the most over looked movies of the year and certainly so is Shannon. While it was a massive hit on the festival circuit, commercially it wasn’t a hit by any means.
With beautifully directed dream sequences and lead acting roles with Shannon and Jessica Chastain as his wife, it will pull you into his life and visions having you question what the truth is the whole time. You are side by side with the main characters feeling what they feel through the extent of the entire film.
The art house feel will not appeal to all but truly is a film just short of true cinematic brilliance. It is a movie that should be given it’s due justice and given a chance by all fans of fine movie making and anyone who wants to witness what most likely will be one of the best actors for years to come. Look for this one to be a major player at the Independent Spirit Awards the night before the Oscars.