Michael Shannon, who often seems like Frankenstein looking sadly for his doctor, plays a scared and scary guy in the flat Midwest. His sinister dreams and fantasies clue him that a vast storm is coming, and he hurls his fragile family into panic by building a big shelter (he already has a small one). Director and writer Jeff Nichols stokes the mood with brooding light that anticipates the rainy end of the world. But the gifted Shannon is, too obviously, a symbolic symptom of the economic and social anxiety of fearful, hard-working folk in tough times. Jessica Chastain is sweetly touching as the bewildered wife, a kind of Walmart Ma Joad. (2011) — David Elliott
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