“You’ve got a good life, Curtis,” says Dewart, Curtis’s best friend and co-worker. (Dewart is played by Shea Whigham, Curtis by the amazing Michael Shannon.) “I think that’s the best compliment you can give a man: take a look at his life and say, ‘That’s good.’ ”
A sinister corollary to Dewart’s homespun truism might be that the greatest fear a man can experience is that of losing the good life he has. It is this anxiety, which afflicts Curtis in especially virulent form, that defines the mood of Take Shelter (2011), Jeff Nichols’s remarkable new film. It is a quiet, relentless exploration of the latent (and not so latent) terrors that bedevil contemporary American life, a horror movie that will trouble your sleep not with visions of monsters but with a more familiar dread.