Can you really trust your own mind? If your reality is sculpted by perceptions, what do you do when those sands start to shift?

Can you really trust your own mind? If your reality is sculpted by perceptions, what do you do when those sands start to shift?

This is the dilemma faced by Curtis in the film "Take Shelter," a man plagued by terrifying nightmares and visions.

His resulting fears are twofold: What if the things he sees aren't real? And what if they are?

Curtis (Michael Shannon) is a blue-collar guy in a small Ohio town. He and his wife Samantha (the recently omnipresent Jessica Chastain) care for their deaf daughter (Dublin native Tova Stewart).

But Curtis has been having dark premonitions and dreams. A hazy idea of a coming "storm" looms large in the troubled horizon of his mind.

Curtis invests a large sum of money in building an underground storm shelter … even as both he and his wife question his sanity.

"Take Shelter" is a film of remarkable dread. Writer-director Jeff Nichols guides events in a way that's both unsettling and subtle. It's not the apocalyptic thriller you might expect. It's far better.

And much of the reason for that is Shannon, who further establishes himself as a superlative actor. If enough people see this film, an Oscar nod is certain.

Some may find "Shelter" a bit confounding. I found it to be one of the year's best.