Jeff Nichols’ “Take Shelter” debuted earlier today at Sundance and judging from the reaction from critics on Twitter, it’s good.
UPDATE: The first full reviews are coming in and they’re strong.
From The Hollywood Reporter, “Michael Shannon gives a brilliant lead performance in Jeff Nichols’ devastating film”:
With his sad-eyed intensity and a towering physicality almost like that of Frankenstein’s monster, there’s possibly no more mesmerizing American actor working in any medium today than Michael Shannon. His talents are put to exceptional use in writer-director Jeff Nichols’ devastating Take Shelter.
Snapped up pre-Sundance by Sony Pictures Classics, this knockout prestige picture is a masterfully controlled piece of work on every level — from its precise modulation of mood to its piercing emotional accuracy, its impeccable craftsmanship and breathtaking imagery. Rarely have electrical storms, cloud formations and glowering skies had such an unnerving impact or expressed such dark visual poetry.
A hallucinatory thriller anchored by a deeply resonant sense of unease, “Take Shelter” finds writer-director Jeff Nichols honing, polishing and amply confirming the raw filmmaking talent he displayed in “Shotgun Stories.” Like that auspicious 2007 debut, this deliberately paced psychological drama builds an ever-tightening knot of tension around an excellent Michael Shannon, here playing a family man slowly driven mad by apocalyptic visions that could be paranoid, prophetic or both. Acquired by Sony Classics before its Sundance premiere, slow-burning “Shelter” will carve out a respectable arthouse niche, though favorable critical response could raise the ceiling.
Here’s a sampling of the Twitter response:
@vulture Holy holy. Take Shelter premieres and we now know why Sony Pictures Classic snatched it up before the fest. Still shaking. #sundance
@hammertonail TAKE SHELTER = Holy Modern Master, Jeff Nichols. Puddles of tears. #Sundance
@erickohn TAKE SHELTER: Favorite so far from #Sundance 2010. Brilliant mix of family drama & psychological thrills. FIELD OF DREAMS meets Noah’s Ark.
I’ll update this post tomorrow with some fuller reviews.