Michael Shannon is one of those guys you'd never pick out as a leading man, an odd-looking, gangly chap ideally suited as a character actor and a quite remarkable one as his Oscar-nominated role in Revolutionary Road more than proved. But Shannon's career just got an upgrade, a once-in-a-lifetime role in the end-of-the-world-minus-the-zombies Oscar-hopeful Take Shelter and yes, Shannon sticks the landing.
Shannon plays Curtis, an everyman living in Anywheresville, Ohio, working construction, living the working class life with his wife (a strong Jessica Chastain) and deaf daughter in tow. As Curtis' partner at work remarks: "You've got a good life, the best compliment you can give a man".
But that good life starts to crack as Shannon's character begins to have bizarre nightmares of something wicked coming his way. The nightmares escalating to daytime visions of flocks of crows flying in bizarrely erratic formations and the puncturing sound of cannon fire.
The action Curtis chooses to take? Replacing his pre-installed backyard bomb shelter with a shipping container straight off a barge on Lake Erie, preparing for the oncoming "storm". The logical choice.
At its core, Take Shelter is a tale of the fears we face these days, job security chief among them with so many hanging on by a thread. And while Take Shelter isn't by any means perfect - writer/director Jeff Nichols could use a refresher course on editing - it's a powerful film, displaying a devolvement into insanity that ultimately proves to be quite visionary.