Director: Jeff Nichols
Year Released: 2011
A construction worker (the inimitable Michael Shannon) starts having visions of the Apocalypse, which not only affects his sleep but also his work and family life, placing great strain on his supportive wife (the deliciously pale Jessica Chastain). With a scenario like this, it could ultimately be one of two things: either (a.) he's crazy (and there are plenty of red herrings, including his schizophrenic mother) or (b.) the Apocalypse really is coming (and, as it turns out, this is the case). Shannon - becoming type-cast as being Great at Doing Insane - carries the entirety of this: his performance is so stellar, it's easy to overlook that there isn't much to the narrative and too many question marks still in play. Why is he the prophet of doom? Why is the world ending (global warming? punishment from a divine force? mere chance?)? If the point is that truth-tellers are tormented, not believed and ridiculed for their convictions, is Shannon a Christ-like figure? The theorizing is slight, but Shannon has, in a short time, become one of America's most distinguished screen talents.