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Shame previews

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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:05 pm

rollotomasi:

Rollo Reviews: Shame

The upcoming film Shame is about a man’s sex addiction. The MPAA ratings board deemed it NC-17 material, and I got the chance to attend a screening a couple of weeks ago. Michael Fassbender plays (and displays, if you catch my drift) the main character in the film — and if GQ’s recently announcement that he is one of their Men of the Year isn’t enough to sway you to his attention — this movie surely will. He’s mesmerizing, and so is Shame.

First, let me tell you about the plot. Fassbender plays Brandon, a New Yorker who spends most of his time outside of his desk job watching porn, masturbating and having sex with women. From the onset of the film, Brandon is obviously a sex addict. The viewer watches his routine as it seems second nature and not even like pleasure; he moves almost involuntarily but precisely from one action to the next — repetition is key. That is, until his mess of a sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), decides to drop by and stay on his couch. His routine must now accommodate this intrusion, and the viewer soon learns it’s not just his routine that is devastated by her presence. There is something amiss.

The film follows Brandon’s unraveling pysche, and all the graphicness of the sex and nude scenes is actually quite overshadowed by Brandon’s distracting facial expressions and all the questions about his intentions. It doesn’t seem like he does it out of enjoyment — much like the portrayals of other addictions like alcohol and drugs — it’s a disease. And something caused it. These sexual scenes are not titillating or exploitative — they are uncomfortable to watch. I would liken it to how uncomfortable I felt watching the characters in Requiem for a Dream take drugs.

That said, Fassbender and Mulligan give incredible performances. Fassbender is one of the best new lead actors on the screen, and he’s nearly Daniel Day-Lewis-ing in this movie (can I say that? Well, I just did). Mulligan proves once again that she’s to be watched, but even I was surprised by how far she went in this film — her sweetheart adorableness is scrubbed away and replaced with the shell of a screwed-up girl. The director, Steve McQueen, seems to have this kind of power over his actors; his first and only other film Hunger had similarly strong performances.

Almost every frame in Shame holds the viewer no matter how lurid the material. It’s interesting to note that the film was co-written by the female playwright Abi Morgan, who’s television movie Sex Traffic won awards. Her written material seems to lend itself to the fact that the sex in Shame serves the purpose to the story, and not for nudity’s sake. It certainly deserves an NC-17 rating, in my opinion, but that shouldn’t make anyone older than 17 shy away from seeing a powerfully told and filmed story about addiction.

Rating: A
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:54 pm

http://www.laweekly.com/2011-12-01/film-tv/shame-review/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Shame Review
Michael Fassbender naked in Steve McQueen's latest film
A A A Comments () By J. Hoberman Thursday, Dec 1 2011

Steve McQueen's first two films both star Michael Fassbender, feature virtually interchangeable titles, and are nearly as grueling to watch as they must have been to make. But where Shame might be nearly as excruciating as 2008's Hunger, it's a lot less exalted.

In Hunger, Fassbender's imprisoned Irish revolutionary Bobby Sands starved himself to death; in Shame, Fassbender's thirtysomething Manhattan office drone mortifies his flesh in another fashion. Captive to an insatiable appetite for porn, whores and quick hookups, both cyber and actual, he's a sex addict.

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Fassbender gives McQueen another extraordinarily physical performance but, while often unclothed, he's less revealing (or at least more withholding). Hunger's visceral evocation of suffering and release made it one of the most compelling cine-experiential death trips produced in the wake of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ; Shame is basically punitive though further resembling The Passion in its self-flagellating case history.

Shame shares Hunger's fastidious mise-en-scène and taste for solemn music. Crucifixion imagery abounds: Fassbender's Brandon is introduced sprawled out in bed, naked save for a blue loincloth of tousled sheets. His monastic high-rise apartment is barely distinguishable from the Standard hotel room where he nails high-class hookers against the giant windows. Is this God's city or Satan's?

Hunger established McQueen as an essentially religious artist, or at least an artist steeped in religious iconography, and, like the pioneer sociologist Émile Durkheim, he seems to regard the Sacred as an allegiance to collective values (as expressed through Bobby's martyrdom for the Cause) and the Profane as the privileging of individual concerns (Brandon's inability to recognize, or even enjoy, an Other person).

Brandon is utterly self-concerned and completely single-minded in his pursuit of what Lacanian film theorists used to call "unpleasure." Ignoring frantic phone calls from former one-night stands, reflexively jerking off in the shower or a toilet stall, he cruises through life, a master of pickup voodoo. In one would-be Bressonian scene, he hungrily eyes a cute subway commuter — hypnotizing her into arousal only to lose her in the rush-hour hubbub.

Wanker though he might be, Brandon is still irresistibly charming. Instead of a Dorian Gray portrait to decay for him, he has a virus-infected computer: "Your hard drive is filthy!" his boss (James Badge Dale) exclaims. "Somebody's been f#%@#&! with your account."

That's one way to put it. Brandon's difficulty relating to actual people is dramatized when he returns home to find a strange chick in his shower. Not (or not necessarily) a desperate ex-lover, it's his crazy younger sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan). Another creature of need, if the temperamental opposite of self-contained Brandon, Sissy is equally prepared to push her way into his life or push herself in front of a subway. She's also a performer — and Mulligan's blowsy desperation makes for the movie's best turn. (She's like a refugee from the world of John Cassavetes.) In one set-piece, Sissy slogs through a daringly lugubrious version of "New York, New York." Shown in tight close-up, it's an authentically exposed bit of chantoosing — with a bogus exclamation point, a cutaway to a tear glistening in Brandon's eye.

As opposed to Hunger, Shame is a film where compulsion trumps conviction. The tone is impressionistic, cool and programmatically anti-erotic. Intermittently, Brandon stages a flight to health — throwing out his impressively massive porn collection, dating a young woman from work (Nicole Beharie). In the first of two long, single-take scenes, Brandon lectures his date on the pointlessness of marriage; in the other, he waylays her in the Xerox room and brings her back to the Standard for a matinee. It's the movie's sexiest sequence, but because this is sex with someone for whom Brandon presumably cares (or for whom he wants to care), its failure is a foregone conclusion.

Human contact severed and Sissy abandoned to her fate, Brandon embarks on a manic journey to the end of the night, torturing himself with daredevil barroom pickups, hooker orgies and a side trip to some homo hell of iniquity. Increasingly awful, his passion leaves us less gasping in physical horror than grasping at metaphysical straws. Is it Sissy who is scarred with a martyr's stigmata? Was that an angel of hope riding to work on the Lexington Avenue local? Does the Lord really live in this cold, ethereal New York City? And is anyone even interested?

SHAME | Directed by STEVE MCQUEEN | Written by ABI MORGAN and MCQUEEN | Fox Searchlight | ArcLight Hollywood, Landmark
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:32 am

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20483133_20549749,00.html

Shame (2011)
Reviewed by Lisa Schwarzbaum | Nov 30, 2011


EW's GRADE
C
Details Limited Release: Dec 02, 2011; Rated: NC-17; Length: 101 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender; Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Brandon, the fictional modern-day sex addict played by Michael Fassbender in Shame, would have benefited from shrink sessions with Carl Jung, the real-life early-20th-century Swiss psychiatrist played by Michael Fassbender in A Dangerous Method. And vice versa. From Jung, Brandon might have gained insight into his compulsive behavior in filmmaker Steve McQueen's aestheticized NC-17-rated study in Calvin Klein-style obsession. Jung might have advanced his daring notions of psychoanalysis, explored by filmmaker David Cronenberg in an understatedly passionate study of ferocious interpersonal relationships played out under cover of demure Edwardian collars and petticoats.

If anyone could have pulled off the time travel required for the mash-up, it's the handsome, ambitious Fassbender. His high-flying 2011 itinerary has also included stops as a soulfully broody mid-19th-century Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre and a Machiavellian Cold War-era Erik ''Magneto'' Lehnsherr in X-Men: First Class. But the distance between Shame and A Dangerous Method in everything but the movies' shared interest in the mysteries of sexual desire is much more than a simple matter of shifting eras. There's a yawning gap between the narrative values of one movie that's all about surfaces and another that expertly explores emotional depths.

Shame is the ''dirty'' movie — the one with lots of graphic sex scenes and an unblinking eyeful of frontal nudity from a lot of interchangeable female sex partners as well as from the frontally endowed Fassbender himself. Even the movie's title hints at prurience, debasement, something feelthy. Yet the biggest surprise in Shame is how distanced, passionless, and merely skin-deep the director's attention is — how little he cares about the subject of his own movie.

McQueen is a visual artist, and he's drawn to surfaces and tableaux here, just as he was in his previous film, Hunger, which starred Fassbender as 1980s IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. But where Hunger's painterly, Pietá-like images support McQueen's depiction of a real figure, Shame's visual style feels more like the filmmaker's own compulsion. (New York City is a perfectly lit blur of gray, soiled cityscape, punctuated by perfectly lit scenes on stylishly grimy subway cars.) Fassbender delivers a riveting performance, giving himself over completely to become a man addicted to lust. Still, we know nothing about Brandon except what we see: He's hunky and well dressed. He lives in a design-y New York apartment fitted with high-end gadgets. And from this (as well as from his generic corporate employment) we can deduce that he's financially well-off. I realize that sex addicts come from all social classes — but wow, this perv has lucked out in the size of his assets.

Brandon's daily grind involves hookers, pickups, Internet porn, masturbation, and guys' nights out with his boss (James Badge Dale). Then Brandon's sister Sissy comes to town unexpectedly and crashes at his place. Played by Carey Mulligan with a sexuality and female hunger I've never seen from her before, Sissy is a quivering mess of neediness. And something about that vulnerability pushes Brandon to new depths of shame. Why are brother and sister so damaged? Who knows. (They grew up in New Jersey, but that's not enough intel for a diagnosis.) At one point Brandon and his boss go to a nightclub to hear Sissy sing and the brother weeps as the sister sings ''New York, New York'' slower than any human has ever sung Kander and Ebb in the history of spreading the news. Perhaps Brandon cries knowing that if Sissy can make it to the end of the lyrics before daybreak, she can make it anywhere? That's as logical a theory as any to work with in this voyeuristic art project.

Shame is eager to rub audience noses in unhappy sex. But in its compassionate embrace of the human erotic urge in all its kinks, A Dangerous Method turns out to be the truly sexy movie — a stately subversion from the maker of A History of Violence. This time, with a bourgeois mustache and precise gestures, Fassbender emits a real erotic charge. His Jung is a man of appetites, even as he displays the fine manners of a cultivated married gentleman of high standing in Swiss society; the actor lets us feel the fellow's vitality. An adaptation by Christopher Hampton (Atonement) of his own 2002 play The Talking Cure, the movie is a sturdily constructed triangle of desires. (Hampton's play was itself based on John Kerr's 1993 book A Most Dangerous Method.) Keira Knightley plays Sabina Spielrein, a distraught woman in shrieking, writhing hysterics when she arrives at Jung's clinic. Thanks to her therapeutic ''talking cure'' sessions with the doctor, Sabina gains insight into the unconscious influences on her intense sexual fantasies. She also, for a while, becomes Jung's lover, and later his colleague as a gifted analyst herself.

Knightley pours herself into the role with ballsy abandon, whether in the throes of hysterical tics, in sexual ecstasy, or merely conversing in Sabina's complicated Russian-German accent. Jung, meanwhile, engages in his own fierce oedipal struggle with his mentor Sigmund Freud. And the founding father of psychoanalysis is given vivid human dimensions (amused, competitive, vindictive, charming, imperious, cigar-loving) by Viggo Mortensen in his third fruitful collaboration with the director. There's a vibrant push-pull between Jung and Sabina, between Jung and Freud, and, in turn, between Freud and Sabina as the extraordinary young woman eventually positions herself between the two men.

A Dangerous Method moves forward with a calm that belies the revolutionary notions of personality construction being discussed — and demonstrated — in this rich story set on the eve of World War I. Intelligent conversation about the interplay of erotic and destructive urges takes place over cups of tea in fine bone china. Yet the movie is a radically modern story about sex. And in the relationship of Jung and Freud, it's a tale of father-son struggle as old as myth. With his clothes on, Michael Fassbender reveals a man in full. Shame: C; A Dangerous Method: A-
Originally posted Nov 30, 2011 Published in issue #1184 Dec 09, 2011
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:50 am

http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/movies/shame,1095730/critic-review.html?wpisrc=nl_movies

Shame Critic's Pick

Critic Rating:

A sex addict's suicide mission

By Ann Hornaday

Friday, Dec 02, 2011

In France, they call an orgasm "the little death." In "Shame," Steve McQueen's mournful portrait of an addict hitting rock bottom, Michael Fassbender plays a man committing suicide by accumulation, seeking self-annihilation through the compulsive pursuit of sex. But what movies so often relegate to the margins of pornography or sophomoric titillation is radically redefined here, stripped of its erotic charge and depicted as a numbing erasure of life and emotion.

If that makes "Shame" sound joyless, that's because it is. In fact, fans of Fassbender's yummy performances in this year's "Jane Eyre" and "X-Men: First Class" should be forewarned that, although we see the handsome Irish actor in the altogether, "Shame" is strangely un-sexy.

As successful New Yorker Brandon, Fassbender - who last worked with McQueen playing Bobby Sands in the remarkable 2008 film "Hunger" - spends a great deal of time staring moodily, whether at a potential conquest on the subway or at porn on his computer, where he sits alone at night drinking beer and eating takeout. In "Shame," New York isn't the glittering free-for-all of snares and seductions as much as a hive of lonely, hidden isolates. Brandon may be able to make it anywhere, but even when he's with another person - usually a one-night stand or a prostitute - he's alone.

That changes with the sudden arrival of his little sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), a blonde live wire whose hospital bracelet indicates that all is not entirely well with her either. Sissy upsets Brandon's metronomically choreographed rituals, which, it becomes clear, emanate from a wound deep in their shared past. "We're not bad people," Sissy says to him at one point. "We just come from a bad place."

That's as specific as it gets in "Shame," which leaves motivations and back stories up to the viewer's imagination and focuses with unblinking frankness on the depths of Brandon's most self-loathing behavior and his increasingly frantic attempts to hide it. When a colleague tells him he really "nailed it" in a meeting, the double-entendre carries a sharp zap of recognition; the closest he gets to revealing authentic emotion is when he begins to cry listening to Sissy sing a lugubrious version of "New York, New York," which Mulligan transforms into a ballad of loneliness and longing in one of the film's most astonishing set pieces. ("Shame" was beautifully filmed by cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, who portrays Brandon's worlds as a soulless backdrop of sleek, antiseptic surfaces.)

As in "Hunger," McQueen favors long, uninterrupted takes, which gives Fassbender's extraordinary gift for expression free rein. In any other actor's hands, Brandon would be an impossibly repellent character, but Fassbender infuses him with enough sympathy and vulnerability to make him not just watchable but unforgettable. This becomes all the more necessary in the film's unsettling, graphically explicit climax, when Brandon seeks to purge his demons in a sequence that resembles a sickening drunken binge, leaving the audience enervated and vicariously hungover.

Whether "Shame" is worth the gloomy descent into Manhattan's scurviest recesses depends on the viewer's tolerance for movies that offer no grand narrative or explicit meaning and instead simply provide a snapshot character study for audiences to ponder on their own. There's no doubt that "Shame" burrows into one's consciousness and stays there, a brooding reminder that most of us are, in some way or another, waging invisible psychic battles. McQueen ends his portrait where he began it, but with a question, leaving it up to viewers to decide whether Brandon has won the fight or is still on his suicide mission, death by little death.

Contains explicit sexual content.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:52 am

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-shame-20111202,0,2750231.story

'Shame' review: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan are raw forces
Steve McQueen's unflinching yet restrained 'Shame' owes much of its power to Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan's vivid portrayals of self-destructive souls.

By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

December 2, 2011
"Shame" is a dispassionate treatment of a disturbing topic, and therein lies its power. Sexually graphic enough to earn its NC-17 rating yet made with a restraint that's both unflinching and unnerving, this is a psychologically claustrophobic film that strips its characters bare literally and figuratively, leaving them, and us, nowhere to hide.

Directed by Steve McQueen from a script he co-wrote with Abi Morgan, this story of the obsessive behavior of a man addicted to sexual activity demands an actor willing to completely reveal himself emotionally as well as physically. In Michael Fassbender, "Shame" has gotten exactly that.

Seen this year in a range of films including "A Dangerous Method," "Jane Eyre" and "X-Men: First Class," Fassbender's breakthrough performance was as Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands in British filmmaker McQueen's wrenching 2008 "Hunger," and he brings the same commanding magnetism and intensity to the director's latest work.

The actor plays Brandon, a New Yorker introduced lying so exhausted in his rumpled, unmade bed that he could almost be dead. Laconic and self-contained, Brandon is not given to introspection or even conversation, but he doesn't need to talk for viewers to figure out there's only one thing on his mind at all times: the compulsive pursuit of sex.

In constant, uncontrollable need of sexual satisfaction, Brandon picks up women, pays for prostitutes, masturbates in the shower at home and in the bathroom at work. He has sex in apartments, in hotel rooms, outdoors against a wall. Again and again and again.

Recorded in explicit but never pornographic detail, this is some of the most joyless sex ever put on screen, a compulsion to climax in which emotional connection plays no part. It's the fixation of a tortured individual aghast at the self-destructiveness of his addiction but unable to change his actions or escape the shame they cause.

If Brandon is teetering on the edge of an abyss when the film begins, things get more complicated for him when his sister Sissy, a singer with a club date in New York, comes for a visit and weasels her way into an open-ended stay at his apartment.

Unflinchingly played by the gifted Carey Mulligan (who also sings a heartbreaking rendition of Kander and Ebb's classic "Theme From New York, New York"), Sissy turns out to be as troubled as her brother but in a mirror-image way.

As over-emotional and out of control as Brandon is withholding, the bleached and blowzy Sissy, always on the verge of hysterics, looks as beaten-up by life as an inflatable Joe Palooka punching bag.

A mess where relationships are concerned, Sissy is neediness personified. In her insistence on emotional connection, she presses all of Brandon's buttons without half trying. Her presence in his life makes him feel that the walls are truly closing in, making it clear that some kind of breaking point is unavoidable.

Working with cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, director McQueen (winner of Britain's prestigious Turner Prize for his art videos) favors a spare, unadorned, almost Bressonian visual style that wants us to focus on what is happening on screen, not the way it is shot.

Similarly, "Shame's" script pares away anything resembling a back story or material that would offer an explanation, facile or otherwise, for Brandon's actions. Even the family background that Brandon and Sissy share, which presumably would clarify a great deal, is rigorously excluded from our view.

Also left out, to less satisfying effect, is any specificity about the nature of Brandon's work. His office computer is seized because of viruses caused by watching pornography, but it's unclear both how he is able to watch so much without a private space and how he can survive for days without an office machine. Also something of a contrivance is the invariably attractive nature of Brandon's partners. Addicts are usually not this fortunate.

But these are minor quibbles that do not detract from how adroitly McQueen has been able to construct his film out of telling vignettes.

The film's supporting cast, especially Nicole Beharie as a co-worker Brandon attempts to strike up a relationship with, James Badge Dale as his boss and Lucy Walters as a wonderfully enigmatic woman glimpsed on a subway, have all risen to the occasion, but it is Mulligan and most especially Fassbender that give the film its power.

The desperation, hostility and despair he conveys through the act of sex make "Shame" a film that is difficult to watch but even harder to turn away from.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:22 am

http://entertainment.time.com/2011/12/01/shame-michael-fassbenders-naked-launch/

Shame: Michael Fassbender's Naked Launch
In a ferocious but remote performance as a Manhattan man addicted to sex, the Irish-German star reveals more than his acting skills
By Richard Corliss | December 1, 2011
Abbot Genser / Fox Searchlight
Shame

Year: 2011

Director: Steve McQueen

Studio: Fox Searchlight

Actors: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan

Magneto lets it all hang out. Michael Fassbender — the German-Irish Adonis of the art house, who also played the young Magneto in this summer’s X-Men: First Class — is on full-frontal display in the grinding sex drama Shame. Director Steve McQueen, the visual artist whose first feature, Hunger, starred Fassbender as IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands, is just as remorseless in portraying the sex addiction of a Manhattan office worker. Shame is not pornographic, but this vividly clinical depiction of satyriasis is explicit enough to land the film an NC-17 rating, the American equivalent of the old, tawdry X. That makes Fassbender the ultimate X-Man.

(READ Jessica Winter on her encounter with Michael Fassbender)

The 34-year-old actor, whose chiseled good looks suggest the young Christopher Plummer, made his first splash a decade ago in the HBO series Band of Brothers, and played the Spartan warrior Stelios in 300. But it was his punishing commitment to the Bobby Sands role that won him a slew of awards and the chance at a wide variety of projects, which he chose with a calculated daring. His range was evident in two movies at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where he could be seen investing the same intensity in a standard-issue epic hero — the British officer who goes undercover in Nazi-occupied France in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds — as in playing a flawed fellow like the roguish Irishman attracted to a 15-year-old girl in Andrea Arnold’s low-budget Fish Tank.

This year Fassbender has been everywhere: the mordant Rochester in Jane Eyre and Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method as well as his roles in X-Men and Shame. This quartet of impressive performances led him to a second-place finish (behind Brad Pitt) in Tuesday’s New York Film Critics Circle vote for Best Actor. Next he’ll star with Gina Carano and an all-star cast in Steven Soderbergh’s action film Haywire, and with Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace in Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s sort-of-prequel to Alien. Everybody wants him, and he seems focused enough to appear in three or four movies a year — an exciting prospect for his growing legion of admirers.

(READ: Whatever happened to sexy movies?)

Fassbender’s Brandon, in Shame, is a handsome guy with an inherent gift for appraising and seducing women. Brandon takes the briefest glance at a blonde at a bar, and, when she closes her eyes and asks what color they are, he automatically knows brown. Eye contact is Brandon’s overture to sex. In the subway on his way to work, he catches sight of a lovely young woman (Lucy Walters) sitting across from him. Flattered by his attention, she smiles back and crosses her legs to reveal some stockinged thigh. As her stop approaches, she stands up and grasps the pole in front of him to show that she’s wearing a wedding ring. That flash of forbidden fruit sends Brandon out of the train to pursue the woman. He’ll be late for work that day.

Courtship, though, is not crucial to Brandon’s sex life. He studies violent porn on his computers at home and — big mistake — at work; he masturbates in the shower and in the office men’s room; he enlists the services of call girls, pounding his manhood into them with expertise and, in the ferocity of his facial features, a hint of desperation. His boss, David (James Badge Dale), sometimes accompanies him on prowls. Not nearly the smooth dude Brandon is, David’s a little in awe of his co-worker, maybe in love with him.

(READ: the sexiest Guilty Pleasure on the all-TIME 100 Movies list)

Brandon tries dating another office colleague, Marianne (Nicole Beharie), but that may be a bad idea, for he can achieve release only in furtive, anonymous sex. Any human relationship is an automatic detumescent. So he’s annoyed when his younger sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan), a singer with a history of suicide attempts, shows up to crash on his couch. The interest she shows in David will further complicate Brandon’s already full schedule.

Mulligan is another appealing comer: she received an Oscar nomination for her role as a precocious teen in An Education, and, like Fassbender, was a runner-up in this week’s New York Film Critics’ vote (for best supporting actress). The actress performs a gorgeous rendition of “New York, New York” as a plaintive ballad not of ambition but of longing, and like her co-star, she’s on full-frontal view here. But Sissy is only a distraction to her brother; her story abuts his but doesn’t alter its trajectory. Brandon is a soloist, not a team player.

(READ: French films that are good in bed)

In a movie era remarkable for its reluctance to dramatize erotic intimacy, Shame merits praise for the dark energy of its sexual encounters. What’s really off-putting about Brandon’s trysts is their bleakness. They are arid, not juicy, and a challenge for even the most avid voyeur to get excited about. Filmed in elegant, unrelenting long takes with very few traditional reaction shots, Shame unspools like a documentary on the rutting of feral animals. In fact, it ought to be called Hunger — since shame suggests a feeling of ethical remorse, and Brandon doesn’t have ethics, only urges. We see him dwelling in a sybarite’s dream world of constant sex but, clearly, not having a great time. Beyond that, he’s a enigma.

Though set in today’s Manhattan, Shame pulses with the grimy vibe of New York City in the late ’70s and early ’80s: when the subways were scarred with graffiti, carpeted with old newspapers like a bird cage and packed with hapless homeless men; and when Chic’s “I Want Your Love” and Blondie’s “Rapture” (both on the movie’s soundtrack) were siren calls to promiscuity in discos and grimy gay bathhouses.

Shame shares a lot with another creepy fiction of the era, Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel American Psycho, set in the go-go ’80s and portraying the moral emptiness of a Wall Street yuppie. Back then, the porn was on videocassettes, and Patrick Bateman, Ellis’ deranged protagonist, either killed and dismembered many of his sexual conquests or, nearly as bad, dreamed he did. But both men are ciphers. As Patrick said of himself, “I simply am not there.”

(READ: Richard Corliss on American Psycho)

McQueen doesn’t judge the character or probe beneath his hard surface, and though Fassbender exposes plenty of himself, he declines to open a window into whatever Brendan has in place of a soul. The director’s and actor’s point, boldly taken and bravely shown, may well be that for this nonstop cocksman there is no hope of change, no resolvable crisis, no there there.

So audiences will have to read their own moral qualms into Brandon. His fate may be perpetual imprisonment in his compulsions: at the end of the film he’s where he began. Again he sees the pretty woman on the subway, again she returns his smile. The predator is back on the chase, to search for a glimpse of Heaven in the circle of Hell he’s created for himself.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:35 am

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2011/12/review-shame-is-unsexy-scary-and-wholly-worthy/

Dec 2, 2011 6:00am
Review: ‘Shame’ Is Unsexy, Scary and Wholly Worthy

Michael Fassbender in "Shame."

If you’re still in doubt about whether or not sex addiction is real, see “Shame.” There are few things as depressing as watching a man defile a series of prostitutes while his suicidal sister sobs into his answering machine.

This is “Shame’s” chief accomplishment: Showing that an addiction to sex can be as damaging as abusing alcohol, drugs, or anything else. Michael Fassbender (“Inglorious Basterds,” “X-Men: First Class”) plays Brandon, a 30-something New Yorker who denies family, friends, work, and sexual orientation to, as director Steve McQueen put it after a Wednesday screening of “Shame,” “get his fix.”

Fassbender is brilliant. His portrayal of a man obsessed is scary and scintillating. If people as soulless as Fassbender’s Brandon exist, you don’t want to know them.

Carrie Mulligan plays Brandon’s feckless sister turned unwanted roommate, Sissy. Their relationship is as disturbing as Brandon’s addiction. Brandon walks in on her stark naked in the shower; she catches him masturbating. As his hunger for sex grows, so does his ill-will to his squatting sibling, and they erupt into rows that are heartbreakingly bitter.

Mulligan’s nude scene will be talked about. What’s far more notable is her ability to dissolve into Sissy’s desperate little world, and to command a scene and a song, albeit a tad too long one, when Sissy performs a blues rendition of “New York, New York.”

Fassbender and Mulligan make “Shame” terrifying in the best of ways. It’s sometimes unclear if he’s going to slit a throat or drop his pants; if she’s going to jump off a subway platform or jump into bed with her brother.

There’s a lot that’s difficult to watch. Pornographic acts, quiet rage, abuse of all kinds. But “Shame” tells a story worth seeing.

“People don’t want to talk about sex, especially sex addiction,” McQueen said. “It’s like people were with HIV in the early ’80s. There’s a stigma. For me, it’s like someone saying the world is flat when it is round.”

“Shame” opens in limited release today. Rated NC-17.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:36 am

http://www.torontostandard.com/daily-cable/film-friday-shame#.TtkKUHCsdoQ.tumblr

Film Friday: Shame

Film | By Scott MacDonald | December 2, 2011

As advertised, there’s lots of sex in visual-artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen’s Shame, but nobody in it gets screwed quite as deeply as the audience. Beneath all the fastidious camera compositions and classical music cues, this supposedly daring look at sex addiction is colossally shallow, containing about as much depth and insight as a diagnostic chart on a sex-clinic wall. And though the NC-17 rating might lead you to expect a libertine, open-minded quality, the movie is exactly as moralistic as its finger-wagging title suggests.

Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a ridiculously fit and handsome Manhattanite who spends all his free time pursuing sex, either with ordinary women, high-priced call girls, or his own hand. And we’re not just talking evenings and weekends – we’re talking mornings before work, coffee breaks, and lunch, too. Brandon’s appetite for sex is endless, but his problem isn’t quantity, ultimately, it’s quality. Brandon only wants sex without love, see, which makes him a very sad and spiritually empty man according to McQueen’s moral arithmetic. How do we know Brandon is empty? His far away eyes and deathly pallor are a good tip off, but in case we still don’t get it, McQueen draws endless visual parallels: Brandon’s apartment is so clean and orderly it looks virtually un-lived-in; his workplace (we’re never told what it is he does) is a cold, sterile glass tower populated by immaculately dressed yuppies; even the clubs he hangs out in are chic voids.

You can argue, as some reviewers have, that the film isn’t moralizing about promiscuity because it’s expressly about sex as a disorder. But if we’re talking about a compulsion the protagonist can’t control, why the overwhelming tone of condemnation? Not only is the movie called Shame, for crying out loud, but the constant externalizing of Brandon’s spiritual desolation (the dead workplaces, the dead bars) clearly implies more than a critique of one disordered man – it’s a critique of the whole culture. So unless we’re all sex addicts, we’re back to the sex-without-love thing, and the implication that loveless sex is killing us. It’s Looking for Mr. Goodbar all over again.

Even if you accept McQueen’s schema, you still have to contend with his over-deliberate visual style. Take, for example, a shot where Brandon looks angry and pained during one of his many sexual encounters. In his hugely admiring review, Roger Ebert praises the shot as follows: “The character, Brandon, is having an orgasm. For McQueen, that could be the film’s master shot. There is no concern about the movement of Brandon’s lower body. No concern about his partner. The close-up limits our view to his suffering.” And that right there is my problem: McQueen limits our view to one puny detail he’s chosen instead of allowing us to make our own observations, and he does this throughout the entire film. It’s monotonous. The approach can work (arguably) if the interpretations are truly compelling, but McQueen’s are mind-numbing. How’s this for insight: in one scene, Brandon is unable to perform with a woman he actually likes, then in the very next scene – get this! – he performs perfectly with a prostitute he doesn’t give a damn about. What’s up with that, eh? It’s possible to get by with such facile observations when a scene is open-ended – if the observation is just one of many possible observations – but McQueen’s one-detail-at-a-time dramaturgy leaves nothing to respond to but his shallowness.

Fassbender, for his part, brings considerable magnetism to the role – and he looks great, of course – but he can’t make a character out of a cipher. By design, Brandon is an emptied out shell, and it would violate McQueen’s tidy moral universe if he ever displayed anything resembling enjoyment or a personality. He’s somewhat interesting in the early scenes, like the wordless sequence where Brandon has eye-sex with a woman sitting opposite him on the subway. But as the film progresses and the character’s “shame” grows (as it must, apparently), Fassbender has little to do but look anguished and desolate. (And while we’re on the subject, has any actor ever managed to pull off a crying-during-sex scene? Eric Bana couldn’t do it at the end of Munich, and Fassbender can’t do it here when he has to sob while boffing two prostitutes.) It’s unfortunate that all of the awards talk surrounding Fassbender has focussed on this performance; he’s far more interesting as Carl Jung in David Cronenberg’s upcoming A Dangerous Method, or even as Rochester in Cary Fukunaga’s recent Jane Eyre.

Shame‘s other major character is Brandon’s estranged sibling, Sissy, who shows up on his doorstep (or rather, in his shower) looking to crash with him for a few weeks. As played by Carey Mulligan, Sissy is the f’d-up yin to Brandon’s yang. While he’s cool and in control, she’s passionate and needy, and her presence in the apartment throws him into a tailspin. Like Fassbender, Mulligan gives the role her all, but the vaguely sketched character just doesn’t wash – she exists purely as a foil for Brandon, and she’s too over-the-top obnoxious. Among Sissy’s many unbelievably inconsiderate acts: bringing Brandon’s douchebag boss home from a bar, then forcing Brandon to listen from the couch while they do it in his bedroom. Later, when she says “I make you angry all the time and I don’t know why,” you want Brandon to whack her with one of his porno mags.

It doesn’t help matters that Mulligan is at the centre of the most unconvincing scene in the entire film. Shortly after we first meet her, Sissy invites Brandon to an ultra-swank nightclub to watch her cabaret act, which turns out to be a lugubriously slow, highly unaccomplished rendition of New York, New York. Yep, that’s right, the most overdone N.Y. tribute ever, and yet all of the jaded Manhattanites in the club are so moved by it they stop their yakking and go completely silent, remaining that way throughout the entire song. (McQueen makes us sit through all of the verses, of course, his camera stuck in tight close-up on Sissy’s face.) Even more improbably, the emotionless Brandon is moved, too. We know this because a single tear rolls down his cheek as the song ends.

The only worthwhile element of the film is Nicole Beharie’s brief performance as Marianne, the woman Brandon fails to perform with. Beharie is relatively new to movies (she starred in the 2008 film American Violet, which I didn’t see), but already she pops off the screen. The minute she appears, you’re drawn to her, and not via any acting pyrotechnics, but because she seems so completely present, so blissfully good-humoured and sane. Suddenly, for the first time since the movie began, there’s a recognizable human onscreen, and you wish you could stay with her instead of the gloomy Brandon.

Most of the media coverage surrounding Shame has zoomed in on how “daring” it is, not just for its occasional bits of full-frontal, but for its “frankness” and “honesty.” To quote Ebert again, “Shame makes into a lie the universal assumption in movies that orgasms provide a pleasure to be pursued.” That’s funny, because in my moviegoing experience, this “universal assumption” is found mostly only in frat-boy comedies and the like, whereas unfulfilling sex is a total cliché in serious art-house films. In Europe, it’s almost a whole genre: the sadness-of-sex movie. Because what better way to avoid charges of prurience or frivolousness than to make sex look miserable? In any case, you know what would actually be daring? A movie about a highly sexual person who isn’t damaged, who actually takes pleasure from having many sex partners and isn’t made to look degenerate because of it.

Scott MacDonald is Toronto Standard’s Film Critic.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:36 am

http://www.undertheradarmag.com/reviews/shame/

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Michael Fassbender stars in Shame, directed by Steve McQueen.
Shame
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Directed by Steve McQueen; Starring: Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan

Dec 02, 2011 By Chris Tinkham Web Exclusive
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In English director Steve McQueen's second feature film, co-written by McQueen and Abi Morgan, Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a well-to-do New Yorker whose looks, stylish wardrobe, and piercing stare can, we're led to believe, bring pretty women to near ecstasy on the subway. The catch is that Brandon is a sex addict who collects porn and can't maintain relationships with women. His younger sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), an aspiring singer, disrupts his clandestine lifestyle when she crashes his posh apartment for a surprise stay. There's an uneasy sexual tension between the two and a vague allusion to a dark upbringing. "We're not bad people; we just come from a bad place," Sissy tells Brandon. Her attempts to establish a familial relationship with him arouse contempt and further fuel his increasingly daring sexual escapades at work and about town.

McQueen, with his eye for striking compositions and proclivity for long takes—there's an astounding tracking shot of Fassbender jogging through the streets of New York at night—treats the premise with utmost drama, even though a character with intimacy issues and an insatiable appetite for sex and porn could just as well come from Judd Apatow. McQueen wastes almost no time presenting Fassbender (an alum from McQueen's first film, Hunger) and Mulligan in full frontal nudity (in separate scenes), so it's concerning early on to what extreme he'll take them in the name of art. Ultimately, for all the skin shown in Fassbender's sex sequences, the most provocative moments turn out to be Brandon and Sissy's conversations, and a frail, time-stopping rendition of "New York, New York," sung by Mulligan. Fassbender (who's played a few characters wrestling with sexual impulses this year) and Mulligan especially instill Shame with emotional gravity. (www.foxsearchlight.com/shame)

Author rating: 6/10
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:37 am

http://arts.nationalpost.com/2011/12/01/film-review-shame-2-5-stars/

Film review: Shame (2.5 stars)

Nathalie Atkinson Dec 1, 2011 – 3:00 PM ET | Last Updated: Dec 1, 2011 1:30 PM ET

On his way to work, Brandon (Michael Fassbender) coolly surveys his fellow subway car riders and one morning his penetrating gaze lingers on a shy redhead. At first she blushes and looks away, embarrassed but secretly pleased. He continues to stare from across the aisle. Soon she is pressing her legs together. He can give orgasms with his mind!

Sorry but no, this is not Magneto fanfic or some sort of X-Men/Jane Eyre mash-up — no sexy young mutant or simmering Rochester here. Instead, it’s Shame, the sexual-addiction flick from art-world star turned film director Steve McQueen (of the acclaimed Hunger, also starring the sinewy Fassbender).

Yes, Fassbender appears fully, frontally naked — as does Carey Mulligan, who plays his sister Sissy. “It’s me,” she breathily cajoles into his answering machine every day. “Pick up pick up pick up pick up.” But he’s too busy with an all-consuming sexual merry-go-round: opening the bedroom blinds, one-night-stands, prostitutes, masturbating, washing up, opening the blinds again — living his Groundhog Day of sex, showers and surfing Internet pornography.

It’s a portrait of the sex addict as stoic — physically well-endowed but considerably less so on the emotional front. The director credibly dispenses with the exposition in the first 10 wordless minutes: we gaze down on Brandon lying in bed alone, akimbo in a tangle of mussed but still crisp sheets (which, like his eyes, are frosty blue). For all the sex, it’s a sterile, detached, impassive gaze. In coitus, he grits his teeth and grimaces — it’s not ecstasy but agony. The rest of the time, Fassbender’s chiselled features are impassive, although the albatross of his compulsion weighs heavily on his wiry frame, as though his muscles were leaden. He seems numb, as does the film. All that lack of affect has played an osmotic trick on the audience; it doesn’t affect us.

Brandon is not aggressive or creepy, just confident and insatiable and later, gradually emboldened by his addiction even as it hollows him out. He also seems smart enough to have a high-paying (vague sort-of-tech-related-maybe?) career, but somehow not smart enough not to surf seriously hardcore porn on his computer at work. “Disgusting. Inconsolable. Invasive,” booms Brandon’s boss in one meeting. He’s talking about the philosophy of computer viruses, but he might as well be wagging a finger.

One day Sissy shows up unannounced to stay. Their incompatibility, in a nutshell: He is frosty and favours shades of cold concrete grey and icy blue monosyllables, while she is all floppy red fedora, vintage leopard-print and fluffy pompom scarf (the scent of which, in her absence, Brandon inhales lustily), paired with easy peals of giggles and laughter.

In the now-claustrophobic condo — about as cozy as an icebox — the film shifts to a cramped Brandon and Sissy pas de deux. With awkward pauses and angry outbursts, it’s the most interesting thing in the movie, except the strategically chosen music often does more to explore the subtext than the script does. Evocative John Coltrane and Chet Baker are augmented by hedonist disco anthems from Tom Tom Club and Blondie; the uncanny use of Chic’s I Want Your Love alludes to an underlying cause. A pity the script doesn’t explore it.

Brandon brings his douchey boss to hear Sissy, a minor key chanteuse, sing. Clad in a rustling, clinging second-skin sequined dress and bathed in amber light, Mulligan’s cherubic face fills the screen and she delivers a sleepy-long, stripped bare and heartbreaking New York, New York. When the two of them hook up, Brandon sublimates his sexual tension with long dead-of-night runs under the chill glow of Chelsea’s fluorescent lights, and the tinklings of Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations and his classic Bach preludes and fugues add a layer of delicacy to Brandon’s hollow frustrations.

The compulsion has worn him out but shows no signs of abating, even when he attempts to go cold turkey and throws out all his porn, even his laptop, and goes to dinner with a charming co-worker. This anatomy of a first date provides a welcome comic release of all the mounting tension, but it soon starts up again, now more vehement (and now violent) than ever.

He’s devolved from pretty professional women at cocktail lounges to looking for a fix wherever he can — a rough, seedy bar or an underground bathhouse are all the same to him, with near-tragic results. It’s a performance so good that it’s a shame, really, the movie isn’t better.

After a jog in the rain, Brandon collapses next to the ceaselessly flowing icicle Hudson and finally chokes out his frustration and despair. It’s a catharsis of nihilism that would have been enough, but McQueen can’t resist adding more, and attempting depth with a teasingly ambiguous ending. But all that — and even the glorious, poignant Bach — can’t mask the movie’s bleak emptiness.

Shame opens Dec. 2 in Toronto, with other cities to follow.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:38 am

http://www.toronto.com/article/705982--shame-seeking-sex-but-losing-human-contact

By Peter Howell Movie Critic
Shame: Seeking sex, but losing human contact

Shame Brandon is a 30-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, Brandon's world spirals out of control.

Dec 01, 2011

Shame

(out of 4)

Starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. Directed by Steve McQueen. At Varsity Cinemas. 99 minutes.

Shame one-ups The Artist’s justly vaunted silent performances with a wordless pas de deux that could literally take your breath away.

It’s an early scene in this commanding film, set in a New York City subway train. Michael Fassbender’s sexually driven Brandon intensely eyes a pretty woman (Lucy Walters) seated across from him. She smiles in return.

As Hans Zimmer’s borrowed score from The Thin Red Line ramps ups the tension, both faces flash a series of messages: interest, attraction, attempt, revelation . . . and ultimately, deflation.

The seduction is real, completely unspoken, and it’s expertly choreographed by Steve McQueen, the British director who brought Fassbender and himself to global attention with Hunger in 2008.

Yet Shame is anything but romantic, as we shall soon witness in the most explicitly physical terms of empty carnality.

It’s also not simply a movie about sex, despite Brandon’s evident obsession. Perpetually aroused, he seeks constant release through sexual activity of all kinds — one-night stands, hookers, Internet porn or simply masturbation — but he doesn’t get fulfilment.

The thirty-something Brandon gets off, but he never gets out of the prison of his mind, a collapsing space of loneliness and self-recrimination that is far more binding than the Irish jail that held Fassbender’s Bobby Sands in Hunger.

He yearns for genuine human contact — as in that subway scene — but he’s apparently incapable of it.

McQueen’s powerful sophomore work, which he co-wrote with Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), bears a more subtle message about the fraying of human connections in the modern world. Our electronic gadgets are always on, chirping and buzzing away, but the beat of the human heart has been slowed and drowned out.

Brandon is one of the many lost souls of the 21st century, looking for connections of the body that aren’t found through an Internet browser.

“Where are you?” a plaintive female voice asks on the answering machine of Brandon’s grim apartment, made all the more so by sombre classical music. She’s another conquest who has been cast off.

Brandon is vexed by another woman, who is harder to shake and who is disrupting his furtive routines.

She’s his sister Sissy, played by a transformed Carey Mulligan, no longer a hothouse flower. Sissy is a self-loathing lounge singer whose melancholic rendition of “New York, New York” slows the rush of Shame just long enough for a mind to remember and a tear to roll.

These two have a troubled past together, but it’s probably not the illicit sexual one that fuelled speculation during the film’s fall festival debut. We’re not sure what happened in their early lives together — the artist and sculptor in McQueen prefers to show, not tell — but Sissy drops a hint.

“We’re not bad people,” she tells Brandon. “We just come from a bad place.”

Their current locale isn’t much better. Shame’s Manhattan is a grey expanse of concrete and silicon, where alcohol flows in place of blood. Brandon works for a nameless company that produces no product of discernible worth.

He’s apparently good at his job, even though he spends his days surfing porn or masturbating in the john. His philandering boss Dave (James Badge Dale) congratulates Brandon for “nailing” a presentation, ironically oblivious to the sexual connotations of the statement.

Or the religious connotations, for that matter. Brandon is first glimpsed as he lies in his bed like the crucified Christ, wrapped in sheets that are as blue as his vacant eyes.

Brandon may once have been a man of substance. He’s still charming enough to entice a co-worker out on a dinner date, yet cold enough to make her regret the experience. He cares for Sissy, yet barely tolerates her. He attracts the woman in the subway, yet also frightens her.

He wonders if he’s still human. A sign in the subway train behind him — which McQueen, a skilled photographer, would surely have noticed — reads, “Improving, non-stop.”

If only it were that simple for Brandon. The wisdom of Shame is that it offers no easy exit for this prison of the mind.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:40 am

http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/02/showbiz/movies/shame-movie-review/index.html

Review: 'Shame' is excellent and profoundly disturbing
By Mark Rabinowitz, Special to CNN
updated 6:11 PM EST, Fri December 2, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS

"Shame" is a penetrating, deeply unsettling look at addiction and obsession
Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is constantly in pain; sex is the only relief
He is thrown off the rails by a visit from his equally but differently damaged sister

(CNN) -- Books, movies, magazines and newspapers repeatedly refer to addiction, usually concerning drugs or alcohol.

It is only recently, in the modern realm of celebrity addictions that the public discourse has added sex to the list of potential afflictions (see: Tiger Woods, David Duchovny) and the general public is still rather slow on acceptance.

How can something as fun as sex be an addiction, you ask? The answer is, any addiction is potentially destructive, turning something enjoyable, like a pint of beer or an intimate evening into something entirely different. Feeling compelled can take the joy out of anything.

"Shame," the excellent and profoundly disturbing sophomore film (following 2008's highly-regarded "Hunger") from English director Steve McQueen, is basically a character study of two damaged souls and their relationships both with each other and the world around them. It's a penetrating and deeply unsettling look at addiction, obsession and self-destruction.

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is an upwardly-mobile, thirtysomething New Yorker who just happens to spend every waking moment that he's not otherwise occupied with work, engaged in some sort of sexual activity. Pornography, escorts, random encounters, group sex, masturbation ... all are fair game. He is an addict by any definition of the word and lest you consider sex addiction as a comparatively harmless addiction compared with, say, drugs or alcohol, think again.

It's as if he's constantly in pain and sex is the only way to stop the agony, to shut his emotional life away in a box. It's routine self-numbing, and however charming or chatty Brandon may be in public, it's all just a means to an end -- the search for sexual release.

Maintaining a tenuous balancing act between his work life and his life as an addict, Brandon is thrown off the rails by a visit from his equally but differently damaged younger sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan).

The two have a past. Something has happened in their childhood that has shaped their lives and their relationship and each has dealt with it in a different way. While we might be able to read into their behavior somewhat, we are largely left to imagine what that past might contain.

While Brandon has buried his emotions in sexual release, Sissy is the opposite and wears hers on her sleeve, along with scars from a past of cutting and perhaps, suicide attempts. She is all externalized emotions, a gadabout to Brandon's stoic. She's a nightclub performer and extrovert, the exact opposite of her brother's bottled-up persona, and her visit upsets his apple cart completely.

In this oil-and-water sibling relationship, all he wants is for her to take life seriously and exhibit some responsibility, while she's trying to get him to loosen up and have some fun. It seems as though neither is capable of doing what the other wants and both are eminently self-destructive.

He is used to his solo sex life: He has an extensive porn collection, uses escorts frequently and visits Internet sex sites, all of which are interrupted by Sissy's visit. She has no idea of his addiction and when she stumbles onto it, things go pear-shaped, but fast.

Fassbender's performance is not entirely unlike the one he gives in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" in that much of his character's emotional life goes on beneath the surface. However, in "Shame" it's reversed. While his portrayal of Carl Jung in the Cronenberg film came alive when he was with Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), Brandon shuts down when he's in sexual situations and the only person who can coax an emotion out of him is Sissy -- and that emotion usually is anger.

Sissy, on the other hand, is just looking for some love, caring and protection from her big brother. It's clear the two don't see each other very often, otherwise she'd know that Brandon is the last person to go to for those things and the last to understand what she needs.

Carey Mulligan more than holds her own against yet another impressive 2011 performance from Fassbender, giving one of the best female performances in a year rife with them. A decent shot at a best supporting actress Oscar nomination, her Sissy is an open wound, raw and emotionally unguarded and working without a safety net.

For his part, Fassbender inhabits Brandon like a less-homicidal version of Patrick Bateman ("American Psycho"). Cool, calm and collected, his emotions buried ... until they aren't and they leap out of him in a torrent. Like any addict, he's forever searching for something to soothe his pain.

The third major character in "Shame" is New York City, and McQueen shows its cold, bleak and rather lonely side. If you've lived there for any length of time, you ought to understand: For such a large and vibrant city, it can make you feel like you're the last person on earth.

McQueen uses the subways and dark, outer borough streets, bars and clubs to great effect, leaving most of the city (and most of its occupants) outside a tight frame and out of focus. No sweeping, glorious views of the skyline, but rather tight shots of Brandon on the subway or in a club. Even many of the sex scenes are shot as a collection of limbs and faces and breasts and other various body parts so you often aren't exactly sure where one person ends and another begins.

As for said sex scenes, they are anything but sexy. By the time the most graphic of Brandon's encounters occurs, arousal doesn't even enter the mind. Much how "Leaving Las Vegas" was unlikely to cause most people to reach for a vodka on the rocks, "Shame" is not going to be the cause for much late-night pillow talk. On the other hand, it may just make you reach for that drink.

"Shame" is rated NC-17 (no one under 17 admitted). There's a lot of graphic sex, all sorts of nudity and the subject matter is pretty damn dark.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:41 am

http://www.ology.com/movie-reviews/michael-fassbender-oscar-worthy-shame

Film Review: Michael Fassbender​ is Oscar-Worthy in 'Shame'
By: Benny Gammerman

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Shame Michael Fassbender
opening December 2, 2011
genre Drama
runtime 101min
director Steve McQueen​
starring Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan​ and James Badge Dale
ology rating
10

’Tis the season to watch Michael Fassbender f*cking on the big screen. Hell, make a double feature of A Dangerous Method and Shame for an entire afternoon of Fassbender fornication, but definitely in that order, because only in the latter does he hang dong. Common Sense Media deems Shame "a powerful drama about sex addiction that is NOT for kids." That's a warning equivalent to, "This hammer is not for eating." Oh, you mean I'm not supposed to show this NC-17 movie to my child? Thank goodness you said something, I was already making popcorn.

Fassbender plays Brandon Sullivan, a 30-something New Yorker with a good job and a nice apartment. He lives alone, in every sense. He's not a bad man, just an empty one, and he escapes his inner abyss by diligently drowning himself in sex. Jerking off in the office bathroom, hiring prostitutes, perusing a library of dirty magazines, chatting with webcam women, soliciting strangers on the subway with the smallest glance -- it's all in a day's work for Brandon. Into this immaculately arranged world comes his younger sister Cissy (Carey Mulligan, of whom we also see ample amounts), an erratic soul with nowhere to go. She'd been leaving him messages, but he hadn't called back. Her smile is warm, her departure date is undetermined, and her mere presence throws Brandon's routine into a tailspin. At first, it's little things like walking in on him masturbating or stumbling across his internet porn, but when Cissy sleeps with Brandon's smarmy boss David (an excellent James Badge Dale), the walls start closing in. All Cissy wants is to be loved, but her affection humanizes Brandon in ways that truly terrify him. He responds by treating her cruelly and without mercy, while also making a separate concerted effort to normalize his sex life. It's an uphill battle, to say the least.

As a New Yorker, I can confirm that director Steve McQueen's vision astutely distills the intoxicating anonymity of midtown Manhattan. Brandon glides through these dark waters like a shark, ravenous but calm. Fassbender is spellbinding in the role, giving us a multifaceted modern man who has learned to subtly dial up and down various aspects of his personality depending on his surroundings. As siblings, he and Mulligan are astoundingly authentic, especially in how their fighting turns from play to real on a dime. McQueen has crafted a stunning sophomore film rife with unforgettable human interaction. And it's all as real as you and me.

SumOlogy: Michael Fassbender bares all in his Oscar-worthy performance of a conflicted sex addict.

Connect with other Filmologists at My.Ology and follow me on Twitter.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:42 am

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Copernicus Praises Michael Fassbender's "Fulsome Magnificence" In SHAME!

Published at: Dec 02, 2011 1:44:50 PM CST

Fox Searchlight is doing what it should in releasing SHAME with an NC-17 rating, rather than neutering it. Artistically, and and even commercially, a bowdlerized SHAME would be an impotent and flaccid. This is a film about hardcore sex addiction -- cutting away as our protagonist is mired in the depths of his affliction would ruin the central drama upon which the film is constructed, rendering it dead on arrival. And it makes about as much sense as showing married couples sleeping in separate beds. Such quaint notions of censorship have no place in our wondrous era of carnal delights from the internet pornucopia. In fact, ‘quaint’ isn’t a strong enough word to describe the MPAA’s attitude of casual censorship -- I’m not sure English has a word for hopelessly, ridiculously, destructively out of date. And don’t give me that doublespeak that it is voluntary so it isn’t censorship. It isn’t voluntary for audiences (they don’t release two versions of films in theaters), and the MPAA is effectively a cartel.

But let’s not pretend Fox Searchlight is doing this out of the kindness of their hearts. They can’t release the film unrated, since they are members of the MPAA. They can’t edit it because it would kill the dramatic viability of the film. Furthermore, Steve McQueen is an honest-to-god internationally recognized artist (i.e. he started in another medium and another country), and censoring his work would intellectually carry a much greater stigma, nearly rising to the level of international incident, than, say, asking Len Wiseman to drop a “f&#!” or two.

Not that any of the above has stopped studios before. More likely, this is a rare case where a studio realizes that chopping the film would also commercially damage it. Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan show full-frontal nudity for more than just fleeting glimpses. For better or worse, more people will pay to see that than an art-house piece about addiction. And to be fair, Michael Fassbinder *will* be getting an Oscar nomination, deservedly so, not only for his acting, but (forgive me), his balls-out acting. Cut that last part, and the golden goose of the Oscar nomination is jeopardy. But the most telling fact is that, at least according to IMDB, Fox Searchlight paid only $400,000 for the US distribution rights. When you pick up a film for the price of the lunch tab on a tentpole you can trot it out as your shining example of artistic integrity to distract people from remembering that you are a part of a de facto censorship system for art. The MPAA *is* the studios, so beatifying them for being “daring” by releasing an NC-17 picture is like praising your boyfriend for only hitting you some of the time.

Enough about the business. My wrath is aimed at the studios, and some of the media regurgitating their propaganda. The filmmakers, who made SHAME to tell a story without regard to commercial viability, deserve heaping amounts of praise. I saw it at TIFF, and it was one of the most buzzed about movies this year.

In the film, the protagonist, Brandon, is a New Yorker who seems to have everything going his way. He dresses stylishly, is successful in business, he’s got a well furnished place in New York, and he has the looks and charm of Michael Fassbender. Of course, behind the veneer he’s furiously addicted to sex in all its forms: masturbation, internet porn, casual encounters with women, and prostitutes. These things dominate his daily routine, even to the point of putting his well-being into jeopardy -- he watches porn at work, gets off the subway to chase women with whom he shares a glance, and prefers the company of prostitutes to the intimacy of a relationship. But his carefully constructed life starts to unravel when his sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), pays an unexpected visit and, from his perspective, invades his life. She’s emotional and needy, where he’s stoic and distant. The two clearly have an unconventional relationship -- something awful, possibly depraved is lurking in their past, although it is never addressed directly. As a result they regularly push each other to the brink of self-destruction, even barging in to have an argument while the other while one is showering, or worse, masturbating.

It is these kinds of scenes that make SHAME so uncomfortable, yet so powerful. The performances are as good as acting gets, sometimes done for minutes at a time completely in the nude. Carey Mulligan does one scene fully-frontally nude for about three minutes. As hard as it seems to believe, because of the context, it isn’t titillating at all. When one of the hottest starlets in Hollywood can do a nude scene and make you just want to put some clothes on her, that’s great acting. These scenes underscore the vulnerability and damaged nature of the characters, and take the film far out of the comfort zone of conventional Hollywood narrative into an unsettling, yet more revealing, voyeuristic territory.

Much of the credit for SHAME is due Steve McQueen, who is an artist who happens to be working in film. Each shot is carefully composed, whether it is the wrinkled bedsheets or the tracking used in a sex scene. Yet, as befitting the subject matter, the film is never beautiful -- like the main character it seems, gloomy, cold, and distant. The uncomfortable situations and uncompromising vision of the film will no doubt turn many viewers off, but I found them interesting, if at times almost stifling in their weight.

Stories about men and women being laid low by sexual misadventure are as old as storytelling itself (see Oedipus Rex), but McQueen gives this one a modern twist, drawing upon ancient themes while taking the narrative it into relatively unmined territory using the novel possibilities offered by the ubiquitousness of the the internet and the anonymity of the modern labyrinth of New York.

What happens when your tools of self destruction are always readily at hand, the bonds of family and friendship that restrain your dark side are removed, and there are plenty of willing participants to speed you along in your downfall? This is a fictional story about sex addiction, but the broader strokes could apply to distinctively modern sorts of catastrophic implosions we’ve watched collectively in cases like Charlie Sheen or Michael Jackson.

Carey Mulligan and Steve McQueen are great, but it is Michael Fassbender’s performance that makes this film something unforgettable. His character’s got charm, but he’s got a deep, dark core that he’s hiding from the world. But beyond that, he’s almost a predator, something like a wild animal stalking prey. Yet at the same time he has a very human vulnerability. And I don’t know how he did it but he somehow manages to convey that he’s sexy and in control, while simultaneously seeming desperate and full of despair.

Now I don’t know if Fassbender was rocking a stunt cock or what, but let’s just say that my reaction to him in his fully uncensored glory was approximately that of Tom Hanks in BACHELOR PARTY upon seeing “Nick The Dick”: reluctant amazement, giving way to awe. As I straight man, I am here to tell you that this thing in its fulsome magnificence is the kind of talisman that can unite a divided nation, and has such power that it will lift us out of our economic malaise. Audiences will be blown right past revulsion or defensiveness into a state of wonder formerly achievable only by meditation or reflecting upon the cosmos. And that’s the real reason SHAME can’t be anything less than NC-17. Its best supporting actor would end up on the cutting room floor.

-Copernicus
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:09 am

http://www.ebertpresents.com/movies/shame/videos/345

Shame
(2011)

Genres: Drama
Review: Shame

video review
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:10 am

http://www.latimes.com/videogallery/66426641/Entertainment/'Shame'-Movie-review-by-Kenneth-Turan

'Shame' Movie review by Kenneth Turan
Kenneth Turan reviews 'Shame'
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:01 pm

http://www.movies.com/movie-news/monday-morning-review-lsquoshamersquo-awakens-desire-raises-questions-burrows-into-subconscious/5656?wssac=164&wssaffid=news

Monday Morning Review: ‘Shame’ Awakens Desire, Raises Questions, and Burrows Into the Subconscious
By Peter Martin Dec 05, 2011

Welcome to Monday Morning Review, a weekly feature here at Movies.com where we provide a review of a film the Monday morning after it arrives in theaters. As such, this review is written for people who have seen the film, and will discuss plot points, spoilers, etc, so read it only if you've seen it or if you don't mind knowing everything that happens.
Shame

Boiled down to its essence, Shame is a film about an addict. But because Brandon, the lead character, is addicted to sex, the issue becomes confused, especially because the film ends with a question mark rather than a period.

The ending is open-ended, and intentionally so. (Steve McQueen, who directed, wrote the script with Abi Morgan.) Brandon, played by Michael Fassbender, has been through hell. To borrow two song titles by British band the Buzzcocks, Brandon is both an “Orgasm Addict” and “Hollow Inside.” He’s addicted to sex, whether it’s with prostitutes, one-night stands, or himself -- he masturbates at every opportunity, even taking time during his work day to gain a measure of relief. His routine is to have sex at every opportunity, as long as the possibility of emotional intimacy is not involved.

But that lack of intimacy takes a toll on his soul. When his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) drops in on him unexpectedly and begs to stay in his tiny apartment for a few days, it becomes clear that they share a damaged past, most likely involving some kind of sexual abuse, or perhaps even incest. The clues are evident, especially when Sissy climbs into bed with Brandon one night after having sex with Brandon’s boss earlier in the evening.

By that point, we know they’re siblings, something that wasn’t apparent when Sissy first appears in the movie, naked in Brandon’s shower. She’s not concerned about her modesty, which is not necessarily unusual; some adult siblings are not terribly modest around each other. In any case, the following morning she’s constantly touching him, which makes him flinch. Initially, I mistook her to be an old lover of Brandon, but knowing that they’re siblings adds an uneasy, frankly queasy tone to the scene.

Sissy acts as a catalyst for Brandon. First he asks Marianne (Nicole Beharie), a lovely workmate, out on a date, and tries sharing personal things with her rather than just flirting and having sex. After he returns home, however, Sissy walks in on him masturbating in the bathroom, prompting an angry encounter that threatens to turn sexual.

Shame

Subsequently, he trashes his porn collection, and the next day steals Marianne away from work for a little afternoon delight. He can’t perform, though, and then can’t face Marianne. It’s much easier for him to deal with an anonymous woman -- whose character is identified in the credits as “Hotel Lover” -- than with someone who might actually mean something to him. He’s addicted to the act of sex, not the person with whom he’s involved. Sex is an activity that provides a temporary measure of relief from the problems he’s facing.

Brandon then begins to spiral downward. He has an extended, increasingly agonizing conversation with Sissy. Without spelling it out explicitly, he makes it clear that her presence is disturbing to him, reopening old wounds, or maybe reawakening old desires. Whatever happened, specifically, in the past, it’s directly tied to his sexual addiction as an adult, which, again, is a means of self-medicating the emotional pain that he still feels.

Endeavoring to ameliorate that pain, he heads out into the night, hell-bent on a path of self-destruction. When he talks dirty to a young woman in a bar, and then baits her boyfriend with sexual boasting, he’s asking for a beating. When he walks into a gay club with open sexual activity, it’s because he needs some kind of sexual release, and he doesn’t care if it comes from a man or a woman. Even that is not enough; he calls a prostitute and arranges a threesome, because he’s trying to make all the pain in his life go away, if only for a few hours.

While Brandon is wallowing in self-pity, Sissy reaches out to him for help, and he ignores her phone calls, just like he did at the beginning of the movie. He returns home to discover that she has attempted suicide. She survives, and in a hospital room he slides his fingers over the scars on her arm, evidence of past repeated suicide attempts. Whatever damage they suffered in their youth, whatever the specific cause, they both continue to suffer, and both want the pain to stop, by whatever means necessary.

Shame is bookended with subway scenes. At the beginning, Brandon catches the eye of a lovely blond woman, flirting without saying a word. She smiles in response, and preens a little, before catching herself; she’s wearing a wedding ring, and she moves quickly when the subway doors open, causing Brandon to lose her on the crowded staircase.

At the end, the same lovely blond woman catches Brandon’s eye. She’s dolled up, with her hair done and fresh makeup applied. Her body posture is inviting, and so is the smile on her face. She’s still wearing a wedding ring. She looks at Brandon, and he looks back, with a neutral expression. He’s at a crossroads; will he return her smile, and continue his path of self-destruction? Or will he choose a different road, and really change his ways?

We don’t know. The lingering power of Shame is that it makes us wonder what he’ll do, and feel haunted that he’ll make the wrong choice. Again.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:38 am

http://thislittlefilmblog.tumblr.com/post/13770852471/review-shame-is-a-deeply-moving-meditation-of-sexual

Review: ‘Shame’ is a Deeply Moving Meditation of Sexual Intrigue and Impulse

At it’s heart, Shame is the story of a man unable to control his addiction. As the follow up film to director Steve McQueen and star Michael Fassbender’s critically acclaimed Hunger, it acts in some ways as an opposite to that film, replacing the dirty grungy Irish prison cell for posh and lively New York City, but consequently having the main character’s prison being his body, and own self-loathing nature, to which the title refers to.

The film introduces us to it’s main character, Brandon Sullivan (Michael Fassbender) as we see him undergo his morning routine, presented in non-linear fashion. He is accomplished, successful, working a great job and living fairly affluently. But he is a man driven by sexual impulse, as viewed by his need for gratification in several short sequences throughout; prostitutes, online sex sites, with the most notable being an exchanging of sensual glances and gestures with a married woman aboard a train ride, with a level of psychological prowess that would rival Hitchcock. This scene inhibits what makes Shame so fascinating; the way in which Brandon’s addiction makes him see the world, plays to the same sense of imagination, fantasy, and spectacle that draws people to films. Brandon is presented as being in control of his lifestyle, one that is lived in assumed loneliness and isolation. But it is with the arrival of his young sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) into his aparment and into his life, that Brandon’s life begins to spiral out of control.

With Shame, director-writer Steve McQueen and screenwriter Abi Morgan have crafted together a story which takes the idea of sexual escapism and turns it into a dark, shady nightmare of a film, akin to the levels of horror of addiction seen in drug films like Requiem for a Dream and Trainspotting. The difficulty of portraying this sort of addiction on-screen stems from it being not something that can be necessarily removed from one’s life, a need for intimacy is basic within all people. As such, Brandon’s life is a difficult one - no clear answers for his condition are expressed, and many other facets of the plot remain open ended. He embodies an almost everyman-like quality, his character could be someone see walking down the street, or even a co-worker. When Brandon’s personal side takes over, we are left wondering who is his true self, and who is his ego? The dual-role he undertakes recalls films like American Psycho, but instead Brandon’s desires are more about a strong, powerful form of love and connection, that is so overwhelming, even he is unable to satisfy himself.

In the leading role, Michael Fassbender once again shines, in a dominating performance that takes the audience into the mindset of a deeply conflicted and troubled individual. His ability to tap into Brandon’s psyche and deliver what may be his finest role yet, is exemplified with powerful force and anguish, up to his character’s slow and eventual breakdown. In Shame, Fassbender is the film, and it can be fairly contested that this role was right for him from the start. In the role of Brandon’s sister Sissy, Carey Mulligan acts just as destructive with a longing for freedom as her brother is. She comes to represent a fragment of Brandon’s past, the connection to family, though it is outweighed by his connection to intimate pleasure. Acting as his reflexive foil, Sissy comes off as being negligent, but upon closer look, is just another consequence of Brandon’s irreconcilable lifestyle.

Shame will leave audiences with a renewed insight on how we view the most important relationships with one another, and how in the 21st century we’ve come to living in a new world of excessive and unstable behavior as a result. It may not be the kind of movie you want to take someone out on a date to, but should you find the chance to make it to the theater, don’t miss it. Truly one of the films of the year.

Rating: 9/10
05.12.11
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:40 am

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/04/PKJC1M2U7C.DTL

'Shame': Emotional nakedness in full view

Pam Grady, Special to The Chronicle

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Michael Fassbender talked to sex addicts to gain insight ...Director Steve McQueen also co-wrote the film. View Larger Images

When asked how he prepared to get under the skin of sex addict Brandon in the downbeat drama "Shame," a deadpan Michael Fassbender responds that he practiced Brandon's erotic skills across New York City, an answer that elicits a laugh from the film's director and co-screenwriter Steve McQueen.

They are joking, of course, the pair's humor on this visit to San Francisco standing in stark contrast to the seriousness of their work together. "Shame" is their second collaboration. For their first, 2008's "Hunger," Fassbender had to lose 33 pounds to play emaciated, hunger striking IRA martyr Bobby Sands. With "Shame," while much has been made of the nudity that earned the film an NC-17 rating, it is Fassbender's emotional nakedness rather than his full monty that is arresting. Brandon is a slave to his compulsions, and his life is further thrown into disarray by a visit from his troubled younger sister Sissy (an equally haunting Carey Mulligan).

That rating may dampen the film's box office potential, but critically it is already a smash. At the Venice Film Festival, where "Shame" made its premiere, the film took home the CinemAvvenire Award and Fipresci Prize for best film and Fassbender won the Volpi Cup for best actor. It has been nominated for seven British Independent Film Awards, including best actor, best director, best British independent film and best screenplay, and the awards season is barely getting started.
Cold shoulder

The idea for "Shame" began at a lunch between McQueen and screenwriter/playwright Abi Morgan. They began talking about the Internet, which led to pornography, which led to sex addiction. Their meal stretched out over 3 1/2 hours, and by the end of it, they had the start of the idea. The director thought he would make the film in his native London, but when he and Morgan started to research the topic, experts in London gave them the cold shoulder. In New York, though, their questions were welcomed, and out of that, New York emerged as the story's location.

"I've been coming to New York since '77, back when Elvis died. The majority of my family lived in New York for a while. It was always familiar to me," McQueen says. "But what was interesting about this, as far as New York City is concerned is that through Brandon's ritual, you see the city. Brandon runs through the city at night. It's so beautiful, just look at it.

"It's strange, isn't it? People in New York work and live in the sky and have those big windows. It's kind of crazy. What happens when you have that perspective on the world? It must make you feel very small. What happens in your head when you have that sort of view on the world?"

Fassbender adds, "To be so lonely, surrounded by millions of people, it kind of intensifies the loneliness. I think Brandon's sort of imprisoned in his body, in his condition, and New York is in some ways an enabler. He sort of negotiates New York. It almost like becomes his compatriot, his comrade in sexual arms."

The choice for who would play Brandon was a simple one for McQueen. The characters and their situations are very different, but the same thing that made Fassbender perfect for Bobby Sands also made him a fit to play the troubled Brandon.

"Michael can actually translate humanity and it's kind of shocking, because then you can see yourself," the 42-year-old director says. "I see actors in movies and they're so far from you, but with Michael you can actually project oneself onto that person, because you're seeing something you know within yourself. That is a beauty and it's a fragility, it's a sort of vulnerability.

"Michael is a man's man, but there's a huge feminity in him and what he does translates to audience, so you believe him," he adds. "There's also a situation where - we're not the prettiest people and sometimes when we look at ourselves we're not particularly attractive, and Michael can portray that."

The admiration runs both ways. Fassbender is much in demand these days. This year alone he has played Rochester in "Jane Eyre," Magneto in "X-Men: First Class," and pioneering psychoanalyst Carl Jung in David Cronenberg's upcoming "A Dangerous Method." The roles McQueen has asked the 34-year-old Irishman to play in "Hunger" and in "Shame" have made demands on him that might give another actor pause, but Fassbender has faith in his director.
Images
Michael Fassbender talked to sex addicts to gain insight ...Director Steve McQueen also co-wrote the film. View All Images (2)

"I know that I'm in the hands of a very special individual," he says. "I trust him like beyond, there's 100 percent trust there and more. It's like having a sparring partner who is much more skilled or advanced than you are and you realize where your strengths are and where your weakness is and you can work on that in a way that's very open and honest. It's all right to feel sort of naked and alone or scared or insecure or feminine or nerdish or - this is what I've sort of learned from Steve - any of these things that I think most of us try to put masks on and try to cover up and defend ourselves by not letting people see these things, because we might feel weak or we might feel silly or be ostracized, when in actual fact everyone is feeling those things."

To prepare for the role, Fassbender spent a lot of time with the script, fully immersing himself in the character and his world, and he talked to sex addicts to gain insight into the condition. Then he had to decide who Brandon was and how he related to him as a character.

"I basically just try to respect the people that I'm trying to portray," he says. "In that way, I try to bring Brandon as close to myself as possible. I didn't want to alienate myself from the situation or the character in any way. I thought to myself, 'Well, OK, we're dealing with a sexual addict, well what does that mean?' Is that the guy with the raincoat and the sweaty pants? No. That is the guy that is everyone in a way, because he is the guy that you're working with in the office. Addicts are very good at performing. They are actors in themselves. There is the Brandon that you see at work, and then there is the Brandon that you see at home, and then there's the Brandon that is out on the streets of New York at night looking for a fix.

"I didn't see much of New York unfortunately. It's my favorite city in the world, but for eight weeks or nine weeks, I was just with Brandon pretty sort of solidly." {sbox}

Shame (NC-17) opened this weekend at Bay Area theaters.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:08 am

http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie-critic-reviews/shame.8/

Shame

Our critic says...
Read review
Metascore
®
from metacritic.com
94
Universal Acclaim
out of 100
Based on 4 critic reviews



'Shame': Sex and the City
Glenn Kenny, Special to MSN Movies

I, like most reasonable folks, am inclined to distrust contemporary artists -- conceptual, or video, or otherwise -- who make the leap into more or less conventional feature filmmaking. Most of the weaknesses I find in the films of Miranda July, for instance, I find (when I'm compelled to speculate on her process, which I admit isn't often) attributable to her performance art background.

I was similarly skeptical about the moviemaking prospect of British artist Steve McQueen, whose very name at first came off like some kind of cheeky conceptual-art jest. As it turns out, that's the fellow's real name, and it's just a coincidence. These things happen. More importantly, I wasn't knocked out by the art itself, particularly a video Buster Keaton pastiche starring the artist himself. But McQueen's debut feature, the striking fact-based drama "Hunger," was bracingly direct and more conventionally affecting than one might have expected, especially considering that the film doesn't train its focus on its ostensible lead character, IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands, until almost a third into the film.

Search: More on Michael Fassbender | More on Carey Mulligan

McQueen doesn't use the same strategy with his second film, "Shame." Here, he puts us in the world of its protagonist, Brandon, right off the bat, as it were, and a sticky, uncomfortable world it is. Brandon, played by great young actor Michael Fassbender, who also played Sands in "Hunger," is a compulsive consumer of sex. Anonymous sex, paid-for sex, sex with "girlfriends" whose calls he then declines to return, and so on.

Sex addiction is a tough, er, nut for some folks to crack; nice work if you can get it seems a standard flippant reaction to even the mention of such a condition. Well, look at it this way: If you can transpose the scene in which Brandon frantically throws away his porn stash, and imagine it as emptying bottles of booze down a kitchen sink, or flushing a bunch of powders and pills down a toilet, well, who can't relate to that, right? In any event, McQueen and Fassbender, already one of the most adept performers when it comes to giving the viewer a window into how the character he's playing actually thinks, do an incredibly thorough and upsetting job of limning the various paths of compulsion Brandon walks down, and the destruction he leaves in his wake. This is particularly true with respect to his odd relationship with his irresponsible and frenetic younger sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan), whose unexpected visit throws his slapdash routine into further disarray: His pursuits are beginning to interfere with his professional life, and further complications abound when his sleazebag boss (James Badge Dale) takes an aggressive interest in Sissy.

At the same time as McQueen and his cast enact the emotional and physical strain of these people in an exacting and thoroughly frank and often graphic way (the film is unabashedly NC-17), "Shame" also trucks in some aesthetic eccentricity. The film is set in a New York that is in some respects unmistakably contemporary -- characters are constantly texting, and of course one of the forms of sex Brandon's addicted to is cyber -- but at the same time kind of anachronistic, with graffiti-festooned subway cars and nightscapes that evoke Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" and Friedkin's notorious "Cruising." A nightclub scene in which Mulligan gives Nico a very expert run for the money in the slow-and-lachrymose singing department with a somnambulant rendition of "New York, New York" would not seem out of place in "The Creation of the Humanoids," while a restaurant first-date scene in which Brandon lays out his theory concerning the uselessness of relationships on an attractive co-worker (Nicole Beharie) features an insanely obtrusive waiter who could have come out of an Ionesco play.

These alienation effects are designed, I suppose, to deepen the chilly discomforting effect of the more realistic scenes, but they also risk compromising that effect. One shot of a shattered Brandon standing in the rain without a clue of where to turn gets more done than any of McQueen's flourishes, frankly. But you can't blame a onetime conceptual artist for trying, and as it happens McQueen is already an accomplished enough filmmaker that even his lapses are arguable ones. And Fassbender is unimpeachable, as is Mulligan, who, after the unnecessary bland out of her work in the overrated "Drive," proves she can deliver big-time when handed something real to work with.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:34 am

http://dcist.com/2011/12/shame.php

Out of Frame: Shame

Addictions are time-consuming disorders. There's the time spent finding the object(s) of your addiction, the time spent actually engaging in them, the time spent dealing with the highs and lows, and the time required to cover up and compensate for all of those activities in your straight life. Of course, life in general can be hard enough to keep everything balanced; add in an addiction, and there's that many more balls to keep in the air. Steve McQueen's engrossing and unsettling new film, Shame, shows what happens when they all come crashing down.

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a successful New York City professional with a tony midtown Manhattan address and charisma to spare. What he actually does for a profession, like almost all of his backstory, is undefined, despite quite a few scenes that take place at his office. What isn't left to the imagination, however, is what he does with his free time. In an opening sequence that jumps around in time, we see his routine: His morning masturbation in the shower; his afternoon session in the office bathroom; after-work porn surfing; sex in the evening with either someone he's picked up, or with a prostitute; and starting up again the next morning, getting ready for work while listening to voicemail messages from women he never has any intention of calling back.

It's a concise and beautifully edited portrait of compulsion, conveying just what one needs to know about Brandon for the purposes of the story, and no more. This is more than just sex without love; or even sex without joy. This is an utterly pleasureless cycle; Brandon is in a boat filling with water, and each orgasm is a bucket bailed over the side, an activity that must be done to keep from sinking.

2011_1202_shame2.jpg When someone else, his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan), hops into the boat with him, the whole ship starts going down in a hurry, with both of them in it. Sissy is as damaged as Brandon, but less adept at hiding it. There is an allusion to some horrible event in their past, but McQueen isn't interested in the cause so much as how damage manifests itself in adults. For Brandon, it's his sexual compulsion. For Sissy, it's a bohemian vagabond lifestyle that has her catching odd jobs as a lounge singer and crashing wherever is handy.

She arrives in Brandon's apartment unannounced after a messy breakup that is, again, just barely alluded to in one side of a desperate, tearful phone call on the night of her arrival. These large blanks to fill in are, just two films into his career, becoming a trademark for McQueen. His feature debut, 2008's Hunger, similarly used suggestion far more than explanation to tell the story. A one-time video artist, he is devoted to the doctrine of showing rather than telling to a degree that may frustrate audiences at times, as his films require more intellectual interaction than most.

Shame also continues his tendency toward long, unbroken takes that refuse to allow the viewer respite from the uncomfortable realities on display. Edits are what remind us, subconsciously, that what we are seeing onscreen is manufactured. Life has no edits, so when McQueen sets up his camera to record long events in real time, there is no retreat from reality.

That technique is used most masterfully here in a deceptively simple scene of Sissy singing "New York, New York" in a downtown nightclub, as Brandon and his boss watch from a nearby table. Once she gets into the performance, McQueen puts her in close-up without movement or cutaway for much of the song. The camera is unable to take its eye off of Mulligan because her rendition is one that would bring the world to a halt. She turns the normally celebratory tune into a smoky and melancholy piece of already defeated yearning. Her eyes say that the change of scenery isn't going to make a brand new start of anything, and that she probably can't make it here or anywhere. When McQueen finally cuts away to Brandon, he's crying. Is it at at his sister's failings or his own?

Probably at both, because it becomes clear that the scars and the fates of these two is inextricably tangled. When things begin to fall apart for him, he can't avoid dragging her down with him any more than he can save himself. At the point where he recognizes his problem, the shame sends him on a complete purge of all the implements of his addiction and an attempt to forge a real human connection with another person. The irony is that the only time he's unable to perform is when sex has the potential to be meaningful. He's hopelessly broken.

There are lines here, between the highly sexual and the sexually addicted, between the sexually addicted and the sexually self-destructive. Brandon begins over the former line, and McQueen takes him over the latter in another disjointed and gorgeously constructed sequence that bookends the film with the opening. The careful control of the opening is replaced with reckless disregard for safety, as McQueen shoots sex scenes with a parody of eroticism that simply highlights the sad desperation.

The sequences are tied together with a sound cue of a relentlessly ticking clock that becomes an insistent rhythmic banging in the soundtrack. Brandon's addiction is constantly counting down to a meltdown. After it comes, Brandon's choice, as he notices the physical scars his sister bears from past suicide attempts, which match his own self-destructive scarring, is whether to reset that clock or just toss it out entirely. McQueen, a leaves us with his future, just like his past, undefined.

---

Shame
Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by Steve McQueen and Abi Morgan
Starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan
Running time: 101 minutes
Rated NC-17 for some explicit sexual content.
Opens today at E Street Cinema.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:35 am

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/02/143014334/for-fassbender-two-perspectives-on-the-perils-of-sex

For Fassbender, Two Perspectives On The Perils Of Sex

by David Edelstein
Listen to the Story

In Shame, Matthew Fassbender plays a sex-addicted New Yorker whose physical and psychological hungers drive him to the point of self-annihilation.

Shame

Director: Steve McQueen
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 101 minutes

NC-17; for explicit sexual content

With: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale
text size A A A
December 2, 2011

The Irish actor Michael Fassbender stars in two current films that revolve around the perils of sex — which means you see him have a lot, so he'll have something to regret.

You know how the sex will play out in Shame, because of, well, the title. Fassbender plays a sex addict, Brandon Sullivan, born in Ireland, raised in New Jersey, and he seems to work in advertising, which is unfortunate since he resembles Mad Men's Jon Hamm.

Brandon is not a predator — he's magnetic enough that his pickups are soft sells. But he prefers prostitutes and online chats: nothing involving emotional commitment. His one tie is to his sister, played by Carey Mulligan, a nightclub singer who sleeps around but, unlike her brother, gets too emotionally committed too fast. Each sibling embarrasses the other, but they're stuck together.

Shame has full-frontal nudity and a rare NC-17 rating, although the shots in question aren't necessary and make me think they're there so the director can say, "The actors are naked, I tell you. Emotionally and physically." His name is Steve McQueen — the British art-school graduate, not the late American actor, obviously — and he films his characters like specimens in a jar.

There are several excellent scenes, one wordless: Brandon stares at a woman on the subway, mentally undressing her, and she, after much hesitation, seems to mentally undress him back. I bet the actress, Lucy Walters, will get parts after this. The other great scene is early, when Brandon overhears his sister pleading on the phone with a lover not to leave. Mulligan hits startling notes as she sobs; her fear of separation is primal.
Fassbender's Carl Jung — Sigmund Freud's protege — struggles to reconcile theory and practice in A Dangerous Method.
Sony Pictures Classics

Fassbender's Carl Jung — Sigmund Freud's protege — struggles to reconcile theory and practice in A Dangerous Method.

A Dangerous Method

Director: David Cronenberg
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 99 minutes

Rated R; for sexual content and brief language

With: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen

But the film's trajectory is so obvious I found myself laughing, especially when Brandon flees a potential girlfriend and sinks to what is plainly depicted as a new low: He goes to a gay bar and lets an anonymous man ... "It's too tragic," the film seems to be saying. Then he has an orgy where's he's photographed like Christ in agony on the cross. But because McQueen has told you little of Brandon's or his sister's past, you get no insight into how they turned out the way they did. It's empty sex for us, too.

With a mustache and specs, Fassbender plays Carl Jung to Viggo Mortensen's Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method, directed by David Cronenberg from a script by Christopher Hampton. It begins with Jung's patient Sabina Spielrein, a disturbed Russian Jewish woman, driven to a hospital screaming her head off. She's played by Keira Knightley in a style that would seem big from the third balcony, spitting out her consonants and working her long jaw so hard it hurts to look at her. But I admire Knightley's guts; she physicalizes every emotion, a nice contrast to all the repression going on in the other characters.

Jung begins as an eager protege of the older Freud, with whom he dines in Vienna, where they speak of this strange new field of psychotherapy. Mortensen is a model of witty restraint: His Freud studies people with amusement, puffing on a cigar that's not just a cigar, since he looks like he's having dirty thoughts. That's one source of the rift between him and Jung, who's open to mysticism and the supernatural, who doesn't want sex to be the only explanation for how people behave.

But sex looms pretty large in A Dangerous Method. Goaded on by a patient who is also a therapist (he's played with delicious lewdness by Vincent Cassel), Jung pursues an S&M affair with Sabina — who then becomes a therapist herself and tries to convince Freud that the sex drive is demonic and self-annihilating. He listens, studying her, puffing on his cigar.

On first viewing, I found A Dangerous Method a wordy bore, but I saw it again after seeing Shame and did — not a 180, but at least a 160-degree turnaround. That wordiness, coupled with Cronenberg's classical restraint, is part of a splendid Freudian joke at the movie's center. It's fun to watch these eggheads try so earnestly to create a theoretical framework for their sexual impulses — as opposed to, say, Fassbender's sex addict in Shame, who unemotionally acts them out, and proves no more interesting than a zombie.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:40 am

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-02/sex-addict-prowls-subways-bars-comic-cook-gets-serious-film.html

Sex Addict Prowls Subways, Bars; Comic Cook Gets Serious: Film
December 02, 2011, 1:05 PM EST

By Rick Warner

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Brandon is always on the prowl.

In the subway, the handsome New Yorker stunningly played by Michael Fassbender in “Shame” stares flirtatiously at pretty passengers. In bars, his quiet charisma attracts the best- looking women. At home in his tidy Manhattan bachelor’s pad -- and at his unspecified white-collar desk job -- he surfs the Web for porn.

And when that’s not enough, he hires hookers.

His insatiable sexual appetite precludes any meaningful relationships, romantic or otherwise. He bickers with his wayward sister Missy (a bleached-blond Carey Mulligan) after she unexpectedly drops in for an extended stay.

Sharply directed by British artist/filmmaker Steve McQueen, “Shame” is about an outwardly content man with an empty soul. No matter how many women he sleeps with, Brandon can’t fill that emotional void.

Despite all its writhing naked bodies and Fassbender’s full frontal nudity, the film isn’t prurient. It’s a sad, gloomy look at extreme loneliness in the midst of one of the world’s most bustling cities.

Fassbender, who played an Irish Republican Army prisoner in McQueen’s first film, “Hunger,” captures Brandon’s tortured psyche with minimal dialogue or action (if you don’t count the sexual gymnastics). He reveals the character mostly through subtle looks and gestures, notably in a scene where he’s devastated after failing to perform in bed with a beautiful colleague (Nicole Beharie).

Mulligan lends strong support as Sissy, a lounge singer who delivers a slow, show-stopping performance of “New York, New York.” Her one-night stand with Brandon’s sleazy married boss (James Badge Dale) creates even more conflict with her brother.

“Shame,” from Fox Searchlight Pictures, opens today in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington. Ratings: ***1/2
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:50 am

http://thetfiles.com/post/13880001974/filed-under-shame

December 7th, 2011
graceehlers

Michael Fassbender is likely in the next few months to become at the very least a major heartthrob, if not a major star. Unknowingly, I have seen him in two movies in the past two weeks, A Dangerous Mind, and now Steve McQueen’s Shame in which he completely outshines Carey Mulligan as a sex addict.

Almost a contemporary American Psycho without the blood lust, McQueen’s Shame is much sadder, and surprisingly connected to the city it is filmed in. Fassbender’s character contemplates his sex binge nights on his subway rides, and keeps up the Standard Hotel’s notoriety for its peep show floor to ceiling windows over the High Line. The most beautiful, touching part of the movie has Carey Mulligan’s character slowly, gently singing the city’s anthem, “New York, New York“ in a way that will break your heart; her lingering last verse “It’s up to you, New York, New York” conjures up the capability of the city to chew you up and spit you out, Fassbender’s character cries in in his seat, knowing this is true for him.

Fassbender, and Mulligan too, is exceptional in the pain he communicates in this movie. The whole of it seems related to the conservatism we often talk about associated with Ys at Trendera. It makes sense that McQueen (though not a Y himself) produces a sad story that centers around promiscuity turned sex addiction, showing a character who is starved for real human connection. A must see for those wanting some depth from their weekend movie choice.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:19 pm

http://underthegunreview.net/2011/12/10/movie-review-shame/

MOVIE REVIEW: Shame
December 10th, 2011 James
shame-photo-03

Film: Shame
Starring: Michael Fassbender
Director: Steve McQueen

One of the year’s most discussed titles, thanks partially to being branded with a NC-17 rating, Shame is a film unlike any other released in 2011. Directed by Steve McQueen and lead by the undeniably talented Michael Fassbender, the film offers audiences a candid look at the world of sex addiction and self-destruction. Unflinching, unyielding, and unsettling, this one may take a more than a few cold showers to shake.

Fassbender stars as Brandon, a presumably successful New York businessman who lives in a single bedroom apartment and suffers from sex addiction. None of this is expressly stated (other than his name), rather it is explained within the film’s first 10-minutes through one of the more engaging opening sequences in recent memory. He is depressed, which is evident in every frame we see his face, but it’s the unexpected arrival of his sister that sends sets our story into motion. Burdened with an unexpected guest, our protagonist must both hide and face his problems more so than ever before, providing two conflicting conflicts, and a hell of lot of acting ground for Fassbender to cover.

From a directorial standpoint, McQueen succeeds at setting a captivating mood and seems to capture the pain of Brandon’s struggle gloriously. That said, he fails immensely when it comes to pacing. Even when the actors are acting their asses off (and they do, frequently), static shots of visually uninteresting occurrences plague the film. Presumably, this was intended to to give things a deeper emotional and realistic tone, but it all comes across as lazy filmmaking.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Michael Fassbender shines through and through, carrying Shame even through its’ weakest moments with a level of smooth that is double whatever Gosling offered viewers in Drive. His battle feels real, it’s ever-present and slowly eats away at the very fabric of his world, and all the while Fassbender carries it as if he were telling his own tale. You want to weep when he weeps, you grow jealous of his smirk when a woman catches his eye, and above all, you feel for him and his condition long before the film ends. He makes this film and, in doing so, makes a hell of an argument for a Best Actor nod (probably even win) throughout awards’ season.

When it comes down to it, what really separates Shame is not the unusual rating (thought it is justified, there is a lot of Fassbender to be seen), but rather the choice to tell a journey through addiction over one driven by redemption. This is not a film constructed around a pivotal scene as much as a film constructed around a character’s whole reality and while it does drag it times, true cinephiles will be thankful they sat through it when the credits roll.

If you love sad movies, erotic drama, or just want to know why Michael Fassbender will be the talk of Oscar season, give Shame a chance when you can. The NC-17 rating will make it difficult for those of you farther from major cities, but it’s definitely an experience those that love character pieces will not want to pass up. Seek it out.

Review written by: James Shotwell
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