Micheal Shannon 5 Key Performances

Michael Shannon is one of my favourite actors. No matter the part, he is an actor that you can rely on. Often associated with performances of searing intensity, Shannon impresses in every role he plays.


As glowing reviews start to appear for his latest performance (as Bobby Andes in Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals) I thought I would review Michael Shannon's career so far - focusing on five key performances. 


Bug - 2006


Michael Shannon first crossed my radar in Harold Ramis' classic film, Groundhog Day. However, his breakout performance came in Curtis Hanson's film, 8 Mile (2002), playing Greg Buehl, Kim Basinger's violent partner.


Another powerful role followed in Oliver Stone's 2006 film World Trade Center. Then, in that same year, Shannon played paranoid Peter Evans in William Friedkin's movie, Bug.


He is truly outstanding in this role.


Evans is convinced that he has been experimented on by the military and is infested with bugs as a result. Shannon and Ashley Judd give intense and extremely committed performances in Friedkin's film - as their paranoia grows, so does their hysteria.


Both performances are impressive. However, as one might expect, they are also unsettling and often uncomfortable to watch.


Revolutionary Road


In 2008, Shannon played John Givings in Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road. This film, about the breakdown of a marriage, saw the much anticipated, post-Titanic reunion of Kate Winslett and Leonardo DiCaprio.


However, it was Michael Shannon's performance that stole the film. He may only be on screen for a short time, but he is just superb. This performance earned Shannon an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.


Take Shelter


One of my favourite Michael Shannon performances comes in Jeff Nichols' 2011 film, Take Shelter. In this movie, Shannon plays Curtis, a father who is plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions. 


Desperate to protect his family, Curtis builds an elaborate shelter in his backyard.

However, his obsession soon starts to threaten his job, his marriage and causes him to question his own sanity. 


In lesser hands than Shannon's, Take Shelter would not have been so effective. He has to convey so much (often while saying very little) and keeping us guessing as to the exact nature and cause of his visions.


This is a brilliant performance and a superb film.


Click here for my review of Take Shelter.


99 Homes


After starring in Jeff Nichols' next film, Mud, and playing Genral Zod in Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel, Michael Shannon played sleazy real estate broker, Rick Carver, in 99 Homes. 


Ramin Bahrani's 2015 film about the impact of the global financial crisis on home owners is a gripping watch. Shannon stars opposite Andrew Garfield and both actors give powerful and emotional performances.


However, for me, Shannon steals this film. Rick Carver is a complicated character - both attractive and offensive, charismatic and repulsive. 


Click here for my review of 99 Homes


Midnight Special


Michael Shannon and Jeff Nichols reunited once again in sci fi thriller, Midnight Special. 


Shannon plays Roy, a father who is on the run with his son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), desperate to protect him from the clutches of religious extremists and the Federal Government.


Full of wonderful 80s sci fi nostalgia (if you liked Stranger Things, you'll love this movie), Midnight Special is a superb movie. Once again, the film rests on Shannon's performance - and he does not disappoint. 


Click here for my full review of Midnight Special


Future Films...

Michael Shannon has never been far from our screens (big and small - he, of course, starred in TV's Broadwalk Empire) in the 23 years since his appearance in Groundhog Day. Indeed, his CV makes for impressive reading.


However, you also get the sense that Shannon is just hitting his stride.


The actor has a number of exciting movies ahead. Alongside Nocturnal Animals, he will feature in Jeff Nichols' next film, Loving, Werner Herzog's Salt And Fire and Guillermo del Toro's 2017 movie, The Shape Of Water.


And I'll always be first in line to buy a ticket.


Film Search


Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones

E: jane@500daysoffilm.com


This site contains my own

thoughts and opinions on

films. Other opinions are

available but may not be correct.