When Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) starts having apocalyptic visions and disturbing nightmares, he decides to build a storm shelter in his backyard… but his family worries about his mental health. The director reunites with Shannon after Shotgun Stories (2007) for another independent film, but this time it is one that unites everyday life with the fantastical in a fascinating way. The filmmakers take their time exploring Curtis and his problems and for a long time it remains a mystery for us if he has mental problems or if his visions are premonitions. There’s tension here and a creeping unease. Very strong performances by the two leads, and the visual effects serve the story nicely.
2011-U.S. 121 min. Color. Produced by Tyler Davidson, Sophia Lin. Written and directed by Jeff Nichols. Cinematography: Adam Stone. Cast: Michael Shannon (Curtis LaForche), Jessica Chastain (Samantha LaForche), Shea Whigham (Dewart), Katy Mixon, Ray McKinnon, Lisa Gay Hamilton.
Last word: “I was moving from my 20s into my 30s. I had just gotten married and my first film had done all right. I finally had something to lose. The anxiety grew out of that. Not to mention, shit was going crazy: Bush was in the White House, the economy was collapsing, there were wars everywhere, towns were getting destroyed by storms. It was just like, what’s going on? It felt like the world at large was losing its grasp of keeping everything together. That was just in the air. It still is.” (Nichols, Indiewire)