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Manuel de Layet [Film Festival 09.12.11] movie review apocalyptic drama



Year: 2011
Directors: Jeff Nichols
Writers: Jeff Nichols
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: The Crystal Ferret
Rating: 6 out of 10

Today I’m having a dilemma on how to write this review; I did went to the screening of Take Shelter, which was marketed as a drama going along this script : “Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.” The opening speech was selling it as one of the last examples of creativity in the American indie movie scene.


I won’t say that the pitch I quoted isn’t appealing, it is. The trouble comes later. As a drama, I did find it a lackluster bland collection of predictable and rather convenient scenes, amounting to around 0.3 on my scale of interest. The lead actor isn’t interesting, the way the story develops isn’t clever or new, the storm skies feels as if they were painted by a 3 years-old and you can’t relate one single moment to whatever is happening. And to add insult to injury, the soundtrack is some inept crescendo-core tune that exactly tells you when something will happen.

Moreover, there’s obviously a problem when a whole theater of people is roaring with laughter at what are script wise the intense drama moments of movie. Or maybe it’s just that we are at l’Etrange Festival and the crowd here has
different expectations than elsewhere in the world.

So instead of destroying this movie shot by shot with my usual acerbic and haughty tone, I’ve decided to treat it not as a drama, as should be intended, but as a comedy. And believe me, it’s a laugh riot.

As a drama, it is really bland as fuck, but if you shift your point of view and actually convince yourself this is a comedy you can really enjoy the ride. Let me explain.

So we have this vacant looking guy with antecedents of mental illness in the family, that’s getting “apocalyptic visions” and that’s wrecking both his nerves and our patience. The funny part is in the repetition pattern and subsequent actions. Because, these aren’t really visions, they are dreams. Which is, you’ll be agreeing with me, a lot more conventional than your usual “prophet type vision”. And when they say “apocalyptic” don’t even except fire, brimstone, and total devastation.

It’s a localized apocalypse, the moron only dreams about really close and mundane things. It’s always shot in the same way, hence the comical effect. When it’s the second time you see the “vision” ending by the guy waking up, it’s already funny and when you know the whole movie is going to go like that it’s hilarious.

So let’s talk about the visions, it’s usually something or someone close attacking him or his child. There’s a lot to say here. Because I’m totally tired, outraged, and bored of this stupid canon of the “progeny over mate”, the child is important, the spouse isn’t. Even more, the spouse is a threat. I’ve ranted on that very same topic for this turd that’s “the road” it’s the same here. I really don’t know what’s wrong with the screenwriters today.
To get back on topic, moron dreams of his dog attacking him, moron sells the dog, moron dreams of his best friend attacking him, moron get the friend fired, moron dreams of his spouse … you’ll see for yourself.

In and of itself there really isn’t much to say about that movie, it’s funny as hell when I’m sure it was intended to bring angst at some point, but the effect are clearly failed. The strings pulling everything are so thick you can moor a tanker with them, the lead actor I found completely unemotional and boring. The female lead on the other hand, is for me the real revelation of the month, she is poignant and beautiful.

In the end, this thing could have been an episode of a TV show without any major difference, given the pitch I was honestly waiting for either a massacre in the storm shelter, or some more grandiose storm episode that would have justified all the pseudo drama, all we have is as lukewarm as piss.
So as a drama, it’s so boring you’ll gauge your own eyes out, as a pseudo-documentary on the first stages of paranoid schizophrenia it’s as accurate as a Wikipedia article, as a sit-com with a live version of Hank Hill having nightmares and messing around with a marine container converted into shelter, it’s gold.

Go see it for the laugh and the outrage you’ll cause to the people taking this thing seriously.

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

Super encore un autre wannabee journaliste blogueur de merde français. Dès l'entrée en matiére avec délit de sale gueule contre Michael Shannon (un acteur salué par la plupart des réal Scorcese entre autres)ça pue le cammenbert moisi, le mauvais esprit parigot là pour briller et faire de bon mot... Casses toi pov' con.

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JUDGE FARGO (9 years ago) Reply

The reviewer didn't even bother to mention Michael Shannon is the lead actor but chose to insult him by criticising his skin condition. This isn't a movie review, it's a whine.

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

What a bad review. I mean, badly written.

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

Stupid review. Maybe TWISTER or THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW would be more to the reviewers liking.

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

if this guy didn't like "the road" or can't even use spell check, why are we reading his horrible review?

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

Happy to see how you react guys.
Just know that this kind of reviews are a big problem in France. Those wannabees journalists live only to write supposed clever, whimsy, edgy revews trying to shine in the french small blogo-sphere. Even if the movie is bad (wich is goodfrom what i've heard and read from serious film lovers) just the way he attacks Shannon on his face oblivious of his celebrated acting chopsis enough to prove that this guy is a joke.

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Michael Bartlett (9 years ago) Reply

That was one of the most idiotic reviews I have ever read. Quiet Earth - I love you guys, but please stop promoting forum lurkers into thinking they are reviewers. The guy couldn't even get Michael Shannon's name right, as already mentioned by one reviewer and he's all over the place in terms of trying to put an elegant piece of prose together.

This movie looks to be the same mood and style as Jeff Nichol's first film, SHOT GUN STORIES, and I tell you what - that film was a masterclass in filmmaking. Maybe I'll write you guys a review of TAKE SHALTER when I see it. One you can be proud of, and represents your usual high quality.

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J.J. (9 years ago) Reply

Nice to see the edits made by Quiet Earth to the offensive comments. Good job, guys.

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Cheesed Off (9 years ago) Reply

Please fire this reviewer. Film-makers work long and hard and film websites of any merit will at least review a film properly. This kind of review just showcases Quiet Earth as a website run by fanboys, not serious film journalists with a passion for cinema. "I did went to the screening" just sums up the ability of the reviewer. I will be switching off from Quiet Earth in the future and sticking with more professional sites.

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street (9 years ago) Reply

bum bum bummmmm The Crystal Ferret, strikes again!

next week on Super Reviews, watch as The Crystal Ferret reveals Contagion is actually the feel good movie of the summer and why The Human Centipede II is wholesome fun for the entire family.

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SeenTakeShelter (9 years ago) Reply

The writing is inelegant and sloppy, but this movie is pretentious crap with no dramatic arc, just the think where festival juries can confuse inarticulate ambiguity with meaning.

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

I love the way Michael Bartlett cusses the writer's prose and then mis-spells the film's title as TAKE SHALTER.


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