Curtis has a loving family which includes a deaf daughter who needs an operation. All things seem right, but then a certain uneasiness creeps into their daily lives. Curtis needs to do something to protect his family. But from what? From the general anxiety of living hand-to-mouth perhaps. From the gnawing fear that he’ll end up like his mother who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when he was only ten.
He starts having nightmares. His dog attacks him. He gives the dog away. He cleans out an old storm shelter on his property, but later decides this is not on a grand enough scale. He digs a hole on his property with equipment borrowed illegally from work. He geta fired. As Curtis increasingly loses control over his own life, his wife begins to take charge. She takes on the role of family protector.
The film builds up to quite a sense of foreboding, with Michael Shannon increasingly teetering on the abyss. Jessica Chastain does a wonderful job as the mother trying to hold her family together through the troubled times. Interesting in that what will happen next sort of way.