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Take Shelter could be easily renamed to something like Anxieties of living in the 21st Century Western Country. It showcases a rich pallet of phobias, from fear of financial instability, job loss, to anxiety about upcoming environmental apocalypse. Curtis (flawlessly played by Michael Shannon) begins having dreams and visions of bad things happening to him and his family and so he decides to build a huge shelter in his backyard where they can all seek refuge in case any of his dreams were to come true. But following his instincts comes at a price – he loses his job, takes out unstable loan from a bank and destroys his deaf daughter's only chance to undergo a surgery to restore her hearing. The dreams drive Curtis into insanity as he mirrors his behaviour with what once happened to his mother, a victim of schizophrenia.

The moment Curtis admits to himself and to others that he might be going insane, the apocalypse does arrive and so everyone else is forced to agree that something bad was on its way all along. Take Shelter is a very contemporary drama, which would not have been made, let's say, ten years ago. The problems the film presents are mostly influenced by the recession, political divide in nowadays America and environmental problems caused by global warming. The director Jeff Nichols finds a perfect balance between building up the multitude of his main character's anxieties and presenting Curtis's struggle in a believable way. He escapes preaching about the presented issues and makes the sole existence of the problems uncertain up until the very last moment. What is most admirable though is that Nichols avoids religious aspects of his apocalypse and keeps it very close to life, making forces of nature the most vengeful and destructive.

Take Shelter was a rare jewel among the films presented at Sundance. It was beautifully executed (besides the outstanding performances from the cast, music and pictures are also note-worthy) and felt fresh and exciting. 

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