The controversial, impeccably made “Zero Dark Thirty” chronicling the hunt for Osama Bin Laden begins with a dark screen. As we hear alarmed voices crying out we realize it’s 9-11. Cut to scenes of a terrorist suspect subjected to various tortures—waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinement in a small box—all in disturbing close-ups. CIA agent Maya observes, reacts, and comments.
Beginning with the prospect of an eerie, menacing storm, Take Shelter finds Curtis LaForche in a quizzical state of apprehension facing the ominous clouds. His puzzled, uneasy wariness will increase as nightmares intrude into his sleep and hallucinations populate his waking hours. Is he exhibiting the early signs of paranoid schizophrenia, as his mother did in her mid-30s?
More a spectacularly beautiful visual poem than a straight-ahead narrative, writer/director Terence Malick's much anticipated The Tree of Life gently urges kindness and love while deploring greed and ego. Interrogating the nature of existence and death, love and grief, Malick detours to contemplate the origins of the Earth and the evolution of nature with a dinosaur era scene.