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Take Shelter Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run time: 120 Mins.
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 14, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

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BestBuy.com:
Take Shelter (2 Disc) (W/Dvd) - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dolby

Purchase Take Shelter on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Writer/director Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories) says he thought up the idea for Take Shelter in the early days of his marriage when he had an overwhelming feeling that the world outside his newly wedded bliss might somehow come crumbling down around him. Well, the resulting film is nothing short of a brilliant, poignant and quite apposite expression of the times we are in. An almost effortless tale of working class, heartland paranoia in the stressful times of “the great recession” captured through the eyes of one struggling family’s financial and mental woes.

Curtis (Michael Shannon; Jonah Hex; TV’s Boardwalk Empire) has his life of domesticity with wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain; The Tree of Life) and daughter Hannah (Tova Stewart) disrupted when he begins having apocalyptic visions of an impending storm that changes his behavior drastically. But his family’s history of mental illness – his mother, a schizophrenic, has been housed in an assisted living facility for years – causes him to both question his sanity and fear for his family. He cannot keep himself, however, from trying to protect them from what he knows is coming, which leads him to begin a work project on a storm shelter in the backyard. This also gets him into trouble at work when he borrows equipment to help start building the shelter, leaving his daughter Hannah, who happens to be deaf, in limbo for a crucial implant surgery when his insurance expires shy of her scheduled surgery date after he loses his job because of it.

That Nichols manages to intertwine elements of the paranormal and the mundane plus delicately touch on disabilities such as deafness and mental illness without ever punching viewers in the face with it is enough for Take Shelter to be lauded, but there is more going on here. There is a moodiness, an overtone of inevitability, of being trapped in one’s circumstance that many working class folks are sure to relate to. Again, Nichols doesn’t seem to set out to tell such a tale, it just falls into place. Add to the above the beautifully brooding cinematography courtesy of Adam Stone and the poetic, longing score by David Wingo, and what you have in Take Shelter is a modern masterpiece.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

An absolutely super-fine grain structure and incredibly wide contrast with supple textures and a clean source make Take Shelter in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement a visual delight on Blu-ray. One might even be fooled into thinking at times that the Super-35mm production was done on one of the new high-end cinematographic high definition video cameras not for the nearly invisible telltale sign of grain.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Audio is also quite good, though not as impressive with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack from Sony. While most of the film is pure dialogue without much going on in the surround channels or even much panning across the front, numerous storm scenes allow the soundstage to open up and become more dynamic and exciting. Dialogue is clean and lows are good, but not exactly resonant.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

There isn’t an exorbitant amount of supplements included on Take Shelter, but the audio commentary, Q&A and Behind the Scenes do provided a good amount of information from the filmmaker and are worth listening to and watching.

The supplements:

  • Commentary with Jeff Nichols & Michael Shannon
  • Behind the Scenes of Take Shelter (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:34)
  • Q&A with Michael Shannon & Shea Whigham (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:19:50)
  • Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; 1080p/24):
    • Second Counselor Session
    • Picnic Table
  • Theatrical Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24)
  • BD-Live

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Take Shelter is cinema as it was meant to be, with life behind the imagery, weight beneath the characters, and meaning between the lines. We don’t need explosions and excessive amounts of CGI work to tell us what we are supposed to feel and when a film like Take Shelter comes along, its simplicity and prose confirms that. This Blu-ray looks, sounds, and feels gorgeous. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006PGL7OQ[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Take Shelter (2 Disc) (W/Dvd) - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dolby

Purchase Take Shelter on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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