← Back to Reviews

Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter (2013) Drama
Directed/Written/Produced by Ron Krauss
Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Brendan Fraser, Rosario Dawson, and James Earl Jones

This movie dealt with some pretty intense subject matter. Thanks to a very strong lead (Hudgens), and overall great acting from the rest of the cast, the subject matter was delivered with the force needed to really get it's messages across. Based on a true story movies can sometimes make me forget to think about character motivations because that was the way that it actually happened. I noticed that wasn't the case with Gimme Shelter. I felt like I understood almost everything going on, and the motivations behind the scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and it made me excited about my own life. Now I just want to strive to enrich my own life experience to it's fullest, and help people who are suffering like the characters in Gimme Shelter.

Vanessa Hudgens gained weight, made herself as ugly as possible by doing things like cutting her hair, and transformed into the character so much that many people have said they didn't even realise she was in the movie until after it was over. They didn't even recognize her. When I first saw the trailer I had no idea it was her. But when I recognized the name, as one of the girls from Spring Breakers, I looked her up and was pretty surprised. She's got that supermodel body and seems very "girly," such an extremely different person from her character. I was really marveled by her dedication to her role for this movie. I never thought of her as that caliber of an actress before. When she talked about her passion for acting from an early age and how she started her film career it makes me wonder why there aren't more movies of Gimme Shelter's quality on her filmography. Hers was not the only performance of this caliber in the film. Rosario Dawson also undertook an intense transformation as the abusive drug addicted mother. She talked about how after just a few hours of filming she wore a grimace on her face for 24 hours without even realising it. Brendan Fraser's was probably the only performance that noticeably should have been improved. It seemed like he wasn't quite as into his role as the other actors and actresses. I still liked him for the role, and his performance wasn't bad, but it reminded me of myself when I have to say a line that I'm not comfortable with. This feeling that it just didn't look right sits with me.

Ron Krauss wrote, directed, and produced the movie. His filmography is fairly short having worked on about 10 films in 17 years. I haven't seen anything else of his, but he does seem like a very dedicated director/producer who both directs and produces most of his movies. He hasn't completed anything since Gimme Shelter, but is apparently working on two projects at the moment. It's really hard for me to actually gauge the quality of directing in general, but particularly in this movie. I usually look for things like the quality of the acting of the extras, attention to detail, what they get out of their stars compared to what those stars have previously done, but I don't really know anything that went on during the actual film making process. I can only see the finished result. With some directors I think it's a little easier to notice subtle things that are marks of good directing, like Bergman. But this time I don't really feel confident in my assessment of the directing. So much of the movie's strength came from it's actors transforming themselves, and I think Krauss probably played a role in that. The acting from the extras was good. The movie had a realistic feel to it and had great atmosphere. I definitely found myself lost, fully immersed in the movie. I didn't really notice the cinematography or music. I was too focused on the characters and story to even think about cinematography and music. I did get the impression from things that people said in interviews that Krauss was a hard working and thorough film maker. I wouldn't go so far as to call Gimme Shelter a masterpiece, but I would call it a truly excellent film and highly recommend it.