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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Take Shelter [Blu-ray]


(Jeff Nichols , 2011)





More Apocalypse-related films on Blu-ray and DVD reviewed (click review buttons to also see

comparisons where applicable) from our article Films From The End of the World:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Hydraulx Entertainment

Video: Sony



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:01:05.258

Disc Size: 38,422,820,716 bytes

Feature Size: 30,127,067,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.93 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 14th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3266 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3266 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, none



• Commentary by Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon

• Behind the Scenes of Taking Shelter (10:34)

• Q + A with Michael Shannon and Shea Whigham (19:50)

• 2 Deleted Scenes (5:57)

• Trailer (2:11)





Description: When Curtis (Michael Shannon) begins having nightmares of an encroaching, apocalyptic storm, he refrains from telling his wife, Samantha (Jessica Chastain). To protect her and their six-year-old deaf daughter Hannah, Curtis starts focusing his anxiety and money into the obsessive building of a storm shelter. While Hannah's healthcare and special needs education has resulted in financial struggle, Curtis' seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns Samantha and provokes intolerance among co-workers, friends and neighbors. However, the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within the community doesn't compare to Curtis' private fear of what his disturbing dreams may truly signify.



The Film:

An Ohio family man experiences a series of disturbing visions that gradually begin to weigh on his marriage and community when he begins obsessively constructing a heavily fortified storm shelter. Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) has a good life. He lives in a beautiful house with his loving wife, Samantha (Jessica Chastain), and their deaf six-year-old daughter, Hannah (Tova Stewart), but begins to sense that something ominous is on the horizon when the dark clouds of swelling storms begin invading his dreams. Taciturn, Curtis refuses to discuss the dreams with anyone, but feels compelled to dig out a massive storm shelter with the help of a good friend (Shea Whigham). Meanwhile, as Samantha grows increasingly concerned with Curtis' erratic behavior, the local rumor mill begins to churn. Are Curtis' dreams a prophetic omen of things to come, or is he perhaps headed down the same dark road as his mother, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when she was approximately the same age that he is now.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE



'Take Shelter’ is not simply the story of one man’s journey to the edge, but a state-of-the-nation address detailing exactly where America (and, by extension, the world) is headed if we all fail to look up and see the clouds gathering. And although the film may stand or fall on the strength of its big moments – Shannon’s bombastic, bracing performance, a fistful of beautifully terrifying, ‘Inception’-like dreamscape set-pieces – writer-director Nichols is as concerned with the minute, everyday pressures of modern life – economic responsibility, interpersonal relationships, religious guilt, masculine pride – as with a disease-of-the-week portrayal of mental illness.

The result is an undeniably major work: a flawed, dizzying, wildly ambitious attempt to cram all of America’s problems into one splitting basket. A repository for (and reflection of) modern man’s deepest fears, Curtis is an embattled hero for our times, and the darkening world he inhabits is one we can all recognise. When future film historians look back at the cultural fallout from America’s financial collapse, ‘Take Shelter’ will be a key text. That is, if the storm doesn’t sweep us all away.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Take Shelter looks beautiful on Blu-ray from Sony.  Even the CGI scenes (I only knew about from the commentary) adds more awe-inspiring 'scapes' to the film.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate for the 2-hour film. There isn't a pixel out of place and there is no manipulation in the transfer. Colors seem far truer and tighter than SD could relate and there are frequent examples of depth. Contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels and detail, in the few close-ups is impressive. Much of the film is shot in daylight and these sequences are the most impressive. Nothing is overly dark and there isn't a hint of noise. This Blu-ray provides one of the finest presentation I've seen in a long while. Absolutely pristine.





















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a whopping 3266 kbps runs beside the narrative as brilliantly as the video portion. Dynamic effects are limited to the weather (often in dream sequences) but less-aggressive audio finds its way to the rear speakers with an occasional surprise. The score is by David Wingo (David Gordon Green's brilliant George Washington, among his credits) and he seems to do a lot with very little supporting the film with a fantastic metaphysical quality. The lossless rendering scores very highly here and there are optional subtitles while my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc - although it is available in Europe.


Extras :

Great extras as we get a commentary by director/writer Jeff Nichols and actor Michael Shannon who discuss the production detailing, which scenes are CGI, time and money and they, thankfully, never 'explain' the more interpretational sequences of the film. As I enjoyed Taking Shelter so much I was also keen on the commentary. Behind the Scenes of Taking Shelter runs about 10-minutes and has director Nichols and Jessica Chastain giving sound bytes about the production - very positive and worthwhile. There is a 20-minute Q + A with actors Michael Shannon and Shea Whigham (Curtis' friend 'Dewart' in the film). There are two deleted scenes - about 6-minutes in total. I appreciated the first with Curtis have a frank discussion with the counselor probing him with more difficult 'Why' questions. Lastly, there is a trailer.



I watched this on DVD a couple of years ago and meant to pick up, and cover, the Blu-ray. But, of course, got side-tracked, till now. I've watched it three more times since that first viewing. I found Take Shelter a brilliantly constructed, and acted, piece of modestly-budgeted cinema. Although, saying that, it is significantly polished to label it 'Indie'. Films about 'Apocalyptic prepping' or however you would like to refer to it - seem to becoming out in increasing numbers in the past few years. Instead of focusing on the difficulties of life post-event (as in The Road or The Book of Eli) or the ugly mechanics of social consequences of a world 'shift' (Goodbye World) or even specific details of preparation or the cause (The National Geographic TV series; Doomsday Preppers) - Take Shelter takes a personal view of one man's inherent belief that a disaster is on the horizon. Curtis (Michael Shannon) is no fringe-dweller, nor is he paranoid - he is just a normal guy trying to protect his family. A man unafraid to stand alone, accepting of the potential of his catastrophic prophecies. I am so impressed with this film for all the things it didn't say - the emotional subtleties are masterfully realized. Bravo to director Nichols for exporting the delicate balances so deftly. The Blu-ray has fabulous a/v and great extras including the commentary. A very strong recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

May 19th, 2014

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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