Gimme Shelter – movie review

by Andie Cunniffe
“Pinwheels are for good luck”, one of the characters notes in the film. For the abused, young and pregnant Apple Bailey, she definitely needs it. Gimme Shelter is opening this Friday, starring Brendon Frasier, James Earle Jones, Rosario Dawson and Vanessa Hudgens. Though Hudgens became famous as a Disney icon in High School Musical, the actress has also taken some more risque roles over the course of her career. From one of her early roles in the gritty teen drama Thirteen, to the drugged up party princess in Spring Breakers and now the homeless, abused teenager in Gimme Shelter, Hudgens is no stranger to playing raw characters on screen. Even her long ravenous locks that were roughly cut off early in the film, instead sporting a couple facial piercings and a more androgynous appearance.
Though the film can be a little cheesy and contrived at times, Hudgens’ performance is truly transformative and shows a darker side to her acting range and ability. The film still does have an independent edge, despite starring several well known actors. This is one of writer/director Ron Krauss’ early full length films. He has also written and directed the drama Rave and the 2010 immigration drama Amexica.
The soundtrack to Gimme Shelter prominently displays another complicated and mistreated woman, Lana Del Rey. The name of the movie is also shared with a classic Rolling Stones song from the late 1960s. When asked about “Gimme Shelter” in an NPR interview, Mick Jagger explained that “It was a very moody piece about the world closing in on you a bit”. Whether the title association was intentional or not, this mindset would easily apply to anyone in Apple’s shoes, being tossed around foster homes as a young, confused teenager, not sure where to go or who to trust.