Thursday, April 7, 2016

What's On Netflix?: SHELTER

Welcome to another installment of What's On Netflix?, where we pick out a film currently playing on Netflix and review it for the fans.  This week's choice is the heart wrenching drama...SHELTER.
Shelter is a heartbreaking, raw drama about a homeless Nigerian man named Tahir (Anthony Mackie) and a runaway junkie named Hannah (Jennifer Connelly) who band together to survive on the streets of Manhattan.  They end up falling in love and that love is the only thing that can keep them going, but is it enough?

Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron) takes his first stab at writing and directing a feature film.  This is a story that is dear to him, as he is a huge advocate for helping the homeless and spreading the word of the troubles they endure.  The direction and cinematography in this film were amazing, but the writing did lack a bit.  The story jumped forward a little too fast at certain points, causing me to question what was going on.  But the spectacular performances by the two main actors made up for most of that.

Bettany made a brilliant choice in casting his Avengers: Age of Ultron co-star Anthony Mackie for the role of Tahir, a bucket-drum playing, homeless Nigerian man who is just trying to repent for the sins of his past.  He is joined by the very talented Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) who plays Hannah, a junkie who ran away from her life after tragedy struck.  These two gave some of their career best performances in this film, both individually and together.

To be completely honest, this film was a bit hard to watch.  Not because it was bad, which it wasn't, but because of the intense, heavy subject matter.  There are scenes that, at first, may seem gratuitous, but are there to convey the pain and struggle these two characters go through on a daily basis.  There are also scenes that don't quite work.  As I said, the film jumps a bit too fast at times, such as when Hannah first decides to get clean, which kind of came out of nowhere.  There was also a weird, abstract water scene which led into a four-month time jump, which threw me off at first as well.

This is by no means a "feel good" movie and by the end of the film that is very apparent.  My heart was broken by this film, but in such a way that opened my eyes to this issue plaguing not just America, but the world.  I definitely recommend giving this watch.  It may not do it for you, but it should be watched nevertheless.

The Merc's Score: 7/10

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