Take Shelter

I’m not sure how I feel about the movie Take Shelter.  It was entertaining, but I kept watching mostly because I was curious about the way it would go (and I mean, if you boil it down, isn’t that what ALL movies are?).

The premise is that a young man starts having terrifying dreams about a horrible storm and becomes paranoid, building a shelter to protect his family.  Along the way we discover that his family has a history of paranoid schizophrenia, and it’s constantly throwing questions in your face: Is it real?  Are his actions justified?  Is he potentially endangering his family for no reason because of mental illness?  Should they listen to him or should they force him to get help?

Unfortunately I just summed up all the best parts of the movie in a paragraph, and it drags on for two hours.  I liked it, because I like psychology and I wanted to see what they would go with in the end, but it was way longer than it needed to be.  It had tension and it kept your attention, but it didn’t need to be that long when it essentially didn’t really do anything new for about a whole hour in the middle.

Spoilers begin here. Seriously, don’t read this unless you’ve seen it or don’t give a shit.

I’m not sure how I feel about how they went in the end.  It almost felt like a false ending, like the director went “Annnnnd cut.  Perfect.  That’s the perfect ending for if we decide to go with the mental illness ending.  NOW we’ll tack on the ‘oops it was real’ ending!  We’ll figure out which one we want to publish later.”

I don’t know.  It almost took all the punch out of the ending to reveal that it was all true in the end.  And at the same time, the movie ended before ALL THE INTERESTING THINGS HAPPENED.  Why is the rain like motor oil?  Why are people turning into fucking zombies if they get wet?  Does that ACTUALLY happen or is that just his dream trying to emphasize how bad this shit is?  Why did he have to be so mean to his dog couldn’t he just keep it out of the god damn rain?

And why was his daughter deaf?  What plot purpose did that serve?  Was it solely to add tension with the whole insurance thing and him losing his job?  I was waiting the whole time for it to play a part in her not being able to hear thunder or something, but in the end it doesn’t matter whatsoever. Her deafness doesn’t play any real role in anything that happens (nothing a regular offspring plot piece couldn’t have accomplished, anyway) and we don’t even see if she survives.  The insurance thing did add some tension while you’re trying to decide if he’s fucking over his family while being paranoid or not, but it’s almost immediately waved away by the wife being all “Well we’ll just find out what it costs to extend the benefits and get it done anyway.”  Tension diffused, purpose eliminated.  It left me a bit confused.  I mean, it’s fine if you want to include a character that’s deaf just to have a character that’s deaf, but it seemed like they were trying to build that into something more and it just smacks of a plot that was abandoned somewhere but not properly polished afterward.

That’s basically how I feel about it.  I feel like this plot was revised several times and the finished product shows a few pencil lines of things that almost were but were cut at the last minute.  It could have used a couple more scrubs with an eraser before doing the final draft.


About tagracat
I am not a professional, I don't get paid to review shit, I am just opinionated and I seem to have some sort of disorder that results in spewing my opinions onto the internet. I enjoy writing long-winded posts about things and sometimes I like to pretend people want to read them, so a blog seemed an appropriate place to stuff it. But mostly I just like writing about things.

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