It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Well, you can't fault the actors. That must mean it's the fault of the writer and director. "Take" is a monotonous slog through dirgeland, telling a story that seems strung out beyond all reason, with flashbacks upon flashbacks delaying interminably the underwhelming climax.
Minnie Driver and Jeremy Renner star, and both of their performances would distinguish a better screenplay. She is Ana, a house cleaner, the wife of an elementary schoolteacher and the mother of a hyperactive little boy named Jesse (Bobby Coleman). Renner plays Saul, a loser at a very low level, who owes $2,000 to a low-life and works for a storage company. He gets fired by stealing possessions from one locker and planting them in a locker where the contents will be auctioned. He pockets the extra cash. Neat, right? I don't know how the boss finds out about it. Just Saul's rotten luck.
It's one of those days. After getting fired, he splits his knuckles while breaking the window of his car, which won't start. Then he begs a pal for the $2,000, and is lent a car and assigned to steal a Range Rover. Then the owner of the Range Rover beats him to a pulp. He finds a gun in the loaner car, slips it in his pocket and goes to a drugstore to get his ailing dad's prescription filled. Seeing the cashier's window, he decides on the spot to rob the store, and in the process, shoots the cashier and takes little Jesse as hostage. If only he hadn't been fired, a lot of people would have been saved a lot of trouble.
These events are doled out parsimoniously by Charles Oliver, who wrote and directed, intercutting with Ana driving her own broken-down car and towing a trailer. She is driving to the prison where Saul is scheduled to be executed, and wants to talk to him before he dies. Although there is an enigmatic phone call over the opening credits that may explain this, I am not at all sure how by this point she seems to have misplaced her husband.