‘What-if’ idioms, a mainstay of science fiction, essential building blocks of the post-apocalyptical vision, suddenly feel different, somehow more real and very much closer. No longer concerned with the aftermath of nuclear war, a mad dictator or other hypothetical disaster dependent upon some future event, we are coming to terms with a threat of an altogether different kind, one that is unconditional and almost palpable, the unknown consequences of a reckless past; the prospect of the world economy crashing or an environmental disaster of global proportions and destroying civilisation as we know it.
One of the most important US indie filmmakers of the new generation, Jeff Nichols follows the impressive Shotgun Stories with a terrifying realisation of this global anxiety pared down to personal terms, one that takes us to the remoter reaches of rural Ohio, where the ‘old school’ locals, traditional conservative hardliners, have no truck with idle speculation, conspiracy theories or any other fanciful nonsense. Confronting us with something that distinguishes great artists from the very good, these profoundly striking images give concrete form to the barely visible, that moment that we normally define in retrospect, the province of history books, where the latent is materialising into the overt.
Michael Shannon returns from the Shotgun Stories to play another stoic American, this time a blue collar family man unable to rationalise his apocalyptic nightmare visions; devastating tornadoes of unimaginable power, contaminated rain resembling industrial waste, the family dog as a ferocious killer on the rampage, all haunting, possessing and taking control under the watchful eye of sinister ghostly figures encircling the family home. He conceals them from his family, contemplates his mother’s schizophrenia and understands the genetic implications but so vivid is the detail, so real the experience, so compelling the effect, the nightmares gradually shape his daily routines, necessitate more and more adjustments, force terrible decisions of Russian roulette proportions, straight choices between preparing for the nightmares as premonitions or retaining his lifestyle, his job and his home. It is a brilliant portrayal of a descent into insanity, depicted at very close quarters, but such is the force of Shannon’s performance, so completely does he align us to his thoughts that nagging doubts creep in, uncertainties that defy logic remain and the ‘what-if’ idiom lingers.
Heavily in demand actress of the Tree of Life and countless other movies released throughout the year, Jessica Chastain plays his wife. Fully experiencing her own living nightmare, desperately trying to come to terms with her husband’s increasingly erratic behaviour, she looks on helplessly as he secretly remortgages the family home as collateral for a risky loan and throws away his safe job and employment medical insurance all in the name of constructing a giant underground shelter and with it, places a vital operation at risk for restoring their daughter’s hearing. Somewhere between anger and desperation, reality kicks in, an urgent requirement for practical action and she starts the painfully slow process of getting to grips with her husband’s apparent schizophrenia.
And just as our nagging doubts fade, a rejection of the metaphysical, the film reaches its climax, an ending that the unobservant may find ambiguous but, actually, provides an extraordinary and rare moment of absolute clarity as the mother and daughter share his apocalyptic storm for the first time; superbly conceived as simultaneously unifying and foreboding.
Do not be surprised to see Shannon nominated for an Oscar and featuring heavily in the awards season for his captivating performance. Chastain is very good again and grounds her performance in that uncomfortable reality where fate seems to conceal all options.can i buy motilium over the counterbuy domperidone in usamotilium to buysildalis buy onlinebuy sildalissildalis pricesildalis onlinesildalis for saleonline sildalissildalis costo
Cinematographer, Adam Stones, another to return from the Shotgun Stories, takes full advantage of the flat, rolling terrain, itself susceptible to the hurricane season, to capture the strong sense of nature waiting in the wings, ready to pounce at any time; a sparse and eerie backdrop to the drama unfolding.