The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 121 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon, Kathy Baker
Written & Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Music by: David Wingo
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 14, 2012
"Am I the only one that sees it coming?"
Curtis LaForche lives in a small town in Ohio with his wife, Samantha, and daughter, Hannah. When Curtis begins to have terrifying dreams, he keeps the visions to himself, channeling his anxiety into obsessively building a storm shelter in his backyard. His seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns and confounds those closest to him, but the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within his community can’t compare with Curtis’s privately held fear of what his dreams may truly signify.
My Take:Curtis LaForche and his wife Samantha live in a small Ohio town with their six-year-old daughter Hannah, who is deaf. Curtis makes a modest living as a crew chief for a sand-mining company. Samantha is a stay-at-home mother and part-time seamstress who supplement’s their income by selling handmade wares at the flea market each weekend. Money is tight, and navigating Hannah's healthcare and special needs education is a constant struggle. Despite that, Curtis and Samantha are very much in love and their family is a happy one. Then Curtis begins having terrifying and sometime violent dreams about an encroaching, apocalyptic storm. He chooses to keep the foreboding sense of dread which has begun manifesting itself in visions/hallucinations while he is awake to himself. He begins channeling his time/anxiety as well as money into the obsessive building out of a storm shelter in their backyard. His seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns and confounds Samantha, and provokes intolerance among co-workers, friends and neighbors. Faced with the proposition that his disturbing visions signal disaster of one kind or another, Curtis confides in Samantha, testing the power of their bond against the highest possible stakes.
I saw the trailer for Take shelter on another disc that I had in for review and thought it looked intriguing. Michael Shannon’s acting abilities are tailor made for the character of Curtis, an everyman who wakes up to find that his seemingly normal life/existence is no longer within his control as he is being driven to act by forces that cause him to question his sanity. For writer/director Jeff Nichols this film comes from a personal perspective and teeters between elements of drama and psychological thriller. Its focus and character base are narrow which allows for a viably rich connection to the parameters that make up the story’s foundation. This includes the interpersonal relationships and the escalating events experienced by Curtis which fuel his actions. The pacing is slow and purposefully deliberate (the film doesn’t drag). I had a sense where it was going but it kept me wondering. There is an enriching and compelling element to the drama that is sustained through the wonderfully nuanced performances by Michael Shannon and my girl Jessica Chastain. When the final act rolled around I was fully committed and eager to see where the journey would end. Was Curtis insane/clairvoyant/both? I didn’t find the ending wholly satisfying but it fit perfectly within the story’s thematic tone. The end result is a quietly involving and rewarding film that is truly the total sum of its parts.
The rating is for some language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Take shelter comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate 3 Mbps.
This is an excellent high definition video presentation from Sony. Image depth during the brighter sequences is appreciable from nearly every camera perspective. Objects within backgrounds have definable structure/texture which makes them appear very lifelike and three dimensional. The video is crisp with natural looking, well balanced colors that give it a transparent and lustrous quality. Shadow detail is strong which enhances depth during dark segments that contain limited light. Blacks are deep, dynamic and stable which adds punch to sequences containing both light and dark elements. Contrast is strong which delivers bright punchy whites and vivid primary colors. Fleshtones are creamy and lifelike. Resolution during a few of the darkened sequences softens a bit but not to a point where I found it to be problematic. I thought that at times this video presentation looked stunning and exhibited quality that is as good as I have seen on Blu-ray.
The is a deceptively good DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that features crystal clear dialogue, powerful dynamics and a subtle, yet strong surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension and discrete directional sounds that created a realistic and occasionally immersive listening environment. This worked hand in hand with film’s music, and source material, to build tension and help drive the story. Be sure to turn this one up.
- Commentary by Jeff Nichols & Michael Shannon
- (HD) Behind the scenes of Take shelter – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Q&A with Michael Shannon & Shea Whigham – 19 minutes
- (HD) 2 deleted scenes
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live enabled
Taken directly from the mind (and heart) of writer/director Jeff Nichols Take shelter is a slow simmering and thoughtful film with enriching elements that speak to the human condition while purposefully engaging us with thrilling aspects that loom in the balance. Stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain deliver compelling performances that genuinely compliment the subject matter. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in a technically strong offering that features reference quality video and crystal clear lossless sound. The supplemental material is essentially middle of the road but worth checking out if you enjoyed the film. If you’re in the mood for well crafted and wonderfully enacted drama I highly recommend Take shelter.
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Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
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