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Shame previews

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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:21 am

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/sep/04/shame-review-steve-mcqueen-venice?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Shame – review

Steve McQueen's second feature of sex-addiction, self-harm and cheap thrills in New York is fluid, rigorous, serious cinema
4 out of 5

Xan Brooks in Venice
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 4 September 2011 13.00 BST

Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan give dynamite performances in Shame, a terrific second feature from the British artist Steve McQueen. Fassbender is Brandon, a sex-addicted corporate drone, directing a radioactive stare at random women across the aisle on the New York subway. Mulligan plays Sissy, his sister, who sings for her supper, self-harms for kicks and is surely pointed towards disaster. "We're not bad people," Sissy assures her sibling. "We just come from a bad place."

Shame
Production year: 2011
Country: USA
Directors: Steve McQueen
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Michael Fassbender
More on this film

Specifically this place is Manhattan, which McQueen depicts as a hell of sterile offices, anonymous apartments and desperate pick-up joints, though it may conceivably refer to the world at large. Outwardly charming and confident, Brandon is soon exposed as a casualty of a bull-market culture where sex has been traded so heavily, so easily and in so many exotic flavours that the consumer has gorged himself sick. Brandon, for instance, appears to score about once a day but it's not nearly enough because he's immediately off to masturbate in the shower. He has a vast porn stash concealed behind his blank cupboard doors and still more buried on the hard-drive at work. "Anals, double-anals," explains his bemused boss Dave (James Badge Dale), who has been charged with overseeing the investigation. "Cream pies … I don't even know what that is, exactly."

Not that Dave is any kind of angel himself. Brandon's boss cheerfully neglects his own family in order to hit on passing women and then promptly beds down with Sissy, who has recently landed at her brother's apartment. Disgusted – and perhaps even excited – by the noise coming through the wall, Brandon escapes for a jog through the nocturnal streets. McQueen traces his huffing, puffing odyssey with one of the most mesmerising extended tracking shots since Touch of Evil.

Shame feels less formal, less rooted in the language of the art installation than McQueen's previous film, Hunger, and is all the more satisfying for that. This is fluid, rigorous, serious cinema; the best kind of adult movie. There are glimmers of American Gigolo to its pristine sheen and echoes of Midnight Cowboy to the scratchy, mutual dependence of the damaged duo at the core. For her big showstopper at a downtown nightclub, Sissy takes the stage to croon her way through a haunting, little-girl-lost rendition of New York, New York, slowing the pace and milking the pathos. Brandon sits at the back, his jaw locked, his eyes welling. In the song's melting, dying fall, he catches a glimpse of the lie behind the tinsel and smells the inevitable death of all her dreams, and maybe his dreams as well.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:26 am

iskyexx:

Clip from McQueen’s Shame

REVIEW OF THE FILM:

German-born Irish actor Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a young executive trapped in a routine of masturbation to Internet porn, one-off sexual encounters and liaisons with whores as he tries to escape a static present.

“I love Brandon, he’s not so different from most of us. He’s living with all the trappings of the modern world. He’s unfamiliar but extraordinarily recognisable,” McQueen told journalists ahead of the film’s world premiere Sunday.

“This is a man who has access to everything, but his freedom imprisons him.”

The film opens with a groundhog day sequence, in which a blue-tinged lens captures Brandon’s empty ritual, from nightly prostitutes to masturbation in the shower the morning after — all to an incessant ticking on the soundtrack.

When his younger sister Sissy — played by British actress Carey Mulligan — comes to stay uninvited, her presence heightens Brandon’s frustration and he goes on a hedonistic search of ever greater sexual pleasures on the streets.

The tumultuous climax sees him immerse himself in a violent threesome, with graphic close-ups set to highly charged classical music which crescendoes as Brandon ruts, his anguished expression breaking into a soundless cry.

“This film is about politics, our relationships with sex and the Internet. It’s about how our lives have been changed by the Internet, how were are losing interactions,” Mcqueen said, adding: “We’ve been tainted, it’s unavoidable.”

Writer Abi Morgan said she and McQueen had chosen to set the film in New York because of the city’s “bleakness and excitement.”

“In terms of contemporary cities, it has both the excess and access we were looking for,” added McQueen, who made his name as a director with the award-winning “Hunger” in 2008, set in Ireland.

If anything, “Shame” emphasises Brandon’s intimacy with the city, following him on journeys on the metro, as he roams dark alleyways and abandoned spaces and in one long continuous shot where he runs through the streets at night.

The title came from McQueen and Morgan’s discussions with sex addicts in researching the film, they said.

“Shame: the word kept popping up, it was the one unifying emotion.”

(Source: Ella Ide | AFP News)
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:35 am

http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/michael-fassbender-does-full-frontal-latest-film-09-05-2011

Michael Fassbender does full frontal in latest film
9/5/2011
Vanessa Munoz

X-men First Class actor Michael Fassbender will be doing full-frontal nudity in Steve McQueen’s upcoming film Shame.

According to The Improper, Fassbender will not be the only actor exposed. He and costar Carey Mulligan will show equal amounts of flesh throughout the movie.

Fassbender will play Brandon, a crazed sex addict whose life and constant need for sexual gratification are interrupted when his needy sister shows up at his home with tons of her own problems to unload.

According to the Los Angeles Times , the new film will certainly receive a NC-17 rating since McQueen will not be censoring the film for American audiences.

Shame is Fassbender's second film with McQueen. Fassbender also starred in 2008's Hunger, a film that was well reviewed and somewhat more intense than Shame, but received far less attention than this current work.

Fassbender is also set to star in A Dangerous Method with Kiera Knightley, though no details on the film have been released.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:00 am

http://www.ifc.com/news/2011/09/michael-fassbender-shame-venice-nudity.php

Michael Fassbender reportedly has no shame in "Shame"
But with no U.S. distribution at the moment, will Fassbendiacs ever get to see it?
Posted 09/05/2011 1:22 PM by Matt Singer

Photo: "Shame," Film4, 2011.

It's a slow news day here in the States, but across the pond in Italy it's the end of a big weekend at the Venice Film Festival. And perhaps the, erm, biggest story we've been following is the reaction Michael Fassbender's new movie "Shame." Directed by Steve McQueen, who also made Fassbender's breakthrough movie "Hunger," the film is reportedly chock full of full-frontal nudity by its hearthrob lead actor. That strange sound you're hearing is thousands upon thousands of Fassbender fangirls all drooling on their keyboards simultaneously.

While you all go get a bib, allow me to share some choice quotes from Time's Richard Corliss, who's on the ground in Venice and witnessed the spectacle first-hand. He says the film is "not pornographic, but explicit enough that it would surely land the film an NC-17 rating." Fassbender plays Brendan, a New York office worker and compulsive sex addict. He goes on:

"Courtship...is not crucial to Brendan'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 features, a hint of desperation."

Mark your calendars, folks: September 5, 2011. The day the phrase "pounding his manhood into them" crossed over from romance novels to Time.

Before you get too excited, you should know that Corliss wasn't as impressed with the rest of "Shame" as he was with Fassbender's, um, performance. He describes the movie as "off-putting" and gently criticizes both director and star for keeping its subject's inner life at a remove from the audience. The film's going to need strong reviews, since it's yet to be picked up for American release, and it remains to be seen whether Fassbender's goodies will remain to be seen when someone does; some potential distributors may demand cuts in order to guarantee an R rating. I'm not necessarily dying to see Fassbender's Fassbinny myself, but as a huge fan of his work, I do want to see his performance in full. It would be a real shame if we never got to here in the U.S.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:02 am

http://www.firstshowing.net/2011/telluride-review-steve-mcqueens-contemplative-sex-drama-shame/

Telluride Review: Steve McQueen's Contemplative Sex Drama 'Shame'

September 5, 2011
by Alex Billington
Steve McQueen's Shame Review

I've been converted. Three years ago when I saw British filmmaker Steven McQueen's debut film Hunger at the Telluride Film Festival, I hated it, with not much care or concern for McQueen. I've followed from the side as his latest film, Shame, a sexual drama set in New York City, developed with a great cast - Michael Fassbender (who was also in Hunger) as the lead and Carey Mulligan as his sister. Shame premiered at Telluride this weekend, and I will fully admit that I'm warming up McQueen in a very big way. I can now see his potential, his refined, meditative, yet brilliant filmmaking that, while it may bore some, fascinated me.

Michael Fassbender stars as Brandon, a 30-something corporate worker who can't control his sex life and desire for sexual activity. His world is turned upside-down when his fragile, younger sister Sissy (played by Carey Mulligan), a beautiful lounge singer, shows up at his apartment one day. It's a story about how sex obsession and over-sexuality is often related to traumatic/troubling experiences in one's past.

Shame is a decisive film, there's no question about it. Much of the older audience here at Telluride likened it to pornography, but I could not disagree more. It's filled with sexual intensity and aggressiveness, plenty of lengthy one-shot takes that McQueen is known for, and meditative character study moments. I went in full well expecting to call some of his shots pretentious, but felt every scene was integral in building up the depths of Fassbender's character Brandon. It's intensely reflective, and it wouldn't work if Fassbender wasn't giving an utterly phenomenal performance. It's his face and every inflection that makes his character so deep, without needing to say much. I wouldn't hesitate calling this one of his greatest performances ever.

The entire film hinges upon Fassbender being so extraordinary in his edgy role. Yes, there's full-frontal Fassbender nudity and there's even full-frontal Carey Mulligan nudity too, plenty of steamy sex scenes throughout, but it's not overindulgent or tasteless. McQueen's filmmaking is refined and realistic, and every shot is always in service of the story. He even has New York City mapped out so perfectly that the subway station Fassbender rides is actually the nearest one to where his apartment is located in Manhattan. There's a scene where the camera follows along the street as Fassbender goes for a jog - for three blocks. Maybe it's just because I love New York, but I reveled in those moments, it made it feel as realistic as it needed to be.

McQueen's Shame is one of those films that sticks with you long after seeing it. Depending on your personal experience with it, it can be unsettling, but it can also be fulfilling. McQueen uses a wonderful score at the start and end to build up the intensity, and there's thrilling moment in the second half that even had me on the edge of my seat. I wasn't sure whether I'd like this film or not, given my experience with Hunger, but I loved it. The opening 15 minutes itself are pure brilliance and the rest of the film does its best to live up to that, delivering an ending that subtly caps things off, but doesn't unnecessarily explain any/everything.

I fully expect there to be both haters and lovers of this film. Deadline's Pete Hammond has already started calling it "controversial" because of its gratuitous sexual content. However, I believe it's simply a brilliant character study that delves into very edgy subject matter that is hard to present on screen without getting that pornography comparison. But that's why I loved seeing McQueen, one of the most talented filmmakers on the rise, address sex and what it means to us, both good and bad. And we need filmmakers who will challenge audiences with stories like this, that not only are shot beautifully, but occasionally make us feel uneasy addressing subject matter that Hollywood too often glosses over.

Alex's Telluride Rating: 9 out of 10
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:04 am

http://www.awardsdaily.com/2011/09/shame-is-the-shadow-of-love/

Shame is the Shadow of Love
By Sasha Stone | September 5, 2011 | Shame, TELLURIDE | 13 Comments

I don’t need no lasso
I don’t need no ball and chain
I don’t need anything with you
Such a shame, shame, shame
Shame, shame, shame
Shame is the shadow of love
–PJ Harvey

Steve McQueen’s unflinching look at sexual addiction and what drives it is the subject of this startlingly moving film, which had its premier in Venice but played here in Telluride yesterday. The film stars Michael Fassbender as a successful but isolated businessman who relies on porn, prostitutes and masturbation in place of real intimacy. He can’t get close to anyone but he can have pseudo closeness. It’s not all that far from Thomas Haden Church in Sideways, “you don’t understand my plight.” But in Sideways it was never really examined so closely. In Shame, the character is running from past emotional damage; he’s doing whatever it takes to rub out whatever that was, driving him deeper into his addiction.

Shame will work better for you if you’ve ever dipped your head in, or had any contact with the kind of high risk behavior that goes with sexual addiction. Sex addicts know, as with every addiction, you have to keep upping the cost, upping the risk, moving beyond what becomes the new normal. But even if you aren’t or have never been a sex addict and have only ventured into the world of high risk behavior either online or in real life, you still might be able to understand, if nothing else, his misery.

Fassbender is beyond brilliant in the part. He digs more deeply into torments he only hints at in A Dangerous Method. What is remarkable and true about his work here is that his facial expression does not change, particularly, until his inner world starts to expose itself. That includes how he looks when he looks at porn, how he looks when he has sex with a hooker, or hits on a woman on the subway: he is a predator with a single goal in mind – satisfaction. His power as this kind of hit man is profoundly felt when he’s spiraling downward and he hits on a woman in a bar. What he says to her, how he owns her completely by telling her things most people just never hear, asking about her boyfriend, “does he go down on you? I do that. I like to do that.” Before long, his unwitting victim is ready to go anywhere with him, do anything for him. Oh, this part is so easy. But it’s the other part, it’s the “sex with someone you care about” that is the more difficult.

Carey Mulligan is a key figure but you have to do a little detective work to figure out why – and perhaps, in the end, it is a matter of interpretation. But her own desperation, similar to her brother’s, leads her to no end of misery. Mulligan, naked emotionally and physically, is disturbing as the main character’s needy and pathetic sister. While she might not be a full blown sex addict she is certainly drawn to false intimacy in much the same way. She’s looking to be rescued, like so many damaged women out there, and you just know it’s never going to end pretty. The relationship between these two hints at something darker. We are left to make our own assumptions about that. Is there nothing Mulligan can’t do? Every performance she turns out is different, but fully realized. She is already such an accomplished and adept performer at such a young age.

No doubt most of us have either been the perp or the victim in these kinds of scenarios. When it’s all over with you don’t really feel better because it isn’t the sex part that you remember. It’s the emotional connection. Sex without emotion can be satisfying if it’s good enough, dirty enough, subversive enough – but it is so much better when it’s sex with someone you love. I think this is true of women as with men. Funnily enough, this is the message of Shame — which doesn’t judge its main character’s “plight” so much as it sympathizes with it: you know that hole can’t be filled so easily. Addiction is always going to lead, ultimately, to emptiness and dissatisfaction.

The long takes are hard to get used to and are distracting, but there is one sequence in this film that is so otherworldly, so beautifully shot that I think it’s best bit of cinema, just those ten minutes or so, than I’ve seen all year. No, not everyone is going to “like” this movie. But those who do will love it. It’s interesting that it reminded me more of a Cronenberg film than the film Cronenberg brought here himself. Carey Mulligan once again turns in yet another masterful performance. She is endlessly surprising in what she turns out.

Of all of the films I’ve seen here, Shame is the one that will probably hover in my psyche for a long time, maybe for the rest of my life. This is partly because McQueen is arriving at something I’ve not seen addressed in films, not this way. But also because of how brilliantly the three main forces work together – that’s Fassbender, Carey Mulligan and director McQueen. Shame is, to my mind, a master work, perhaps even a masterpiece.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:06 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/09/05/steve-mcqueen-launches-se_n_949210.html

Steve McQueen Launches Sex-Addict Film 'Shame' In Venice
Steve Mcqueen

First Posted: 5/9/11 16:25 GMT Updated: 5/9/11 16:25 GMT

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- For Steve McQueen, there was no better place than Manhattan to film Shame, his new film that portrays the life of a 30-something sex addict, played by Michael Fassbender in often graphic detail.

"Excess and access. New York is the place," the British director said ahead of his second film's world premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival.

Fassbender's Brandon has no trouble indulging his appetite, be it over the internet, in his workplace toilet, nightclubs, city streets, or even the Standard Hotel, which has gained notoriety on its own as a showcase for exhibitionists due to its floor to ceiling street-facing windows.

"If you stay at the Standard Hotel, there is a little card that says, 'Please refrain from undressing at the window.' I think it is obviously a tempting proposition when you have a building and a beautiful platform like that, to use it any way you want," co-screenwriter Abi Morgan said.

Brandon manages even a nonphysical sexual encounter with a beautiful woman on the subway, with the pair transmitting their desire through intense stares.

Fassbender, who film credits include X-Men: First Class, Inglorious Basterds and the upcoming Jane Eyre, acknowledged a certain discomfort at playing graphic sex scenes.

"Just have to jump into it," he said. "The most important thing, I suppose, is just make sure that everybody involved is comfortable, and just sort of go for it so you don't have to do too many takes."

The film festival's grand prize, the Golden Lion, will be awarded on September 10.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:11 am

http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/90759/shame.html

Shame (2011)

Director: Steve McQueen (ii)

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From Time Out Online

The British artist Steve McQueen stormed the more arty quarters of the movie world in 2008 with ‘Hunger’, his film about IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. His second film, ‘Shame’, with Michael Fassbender as a slick New York bachelor who has a complicated relationship with his sexuality and Carey Mulligan as his younger sister who imposes a rare visit on his outwardly ordered and successful Manhattan life, is a little more conventional in form. But it’s equally courageous and probing in its investigation of the extremes of human behaviour. Like ‘Hunger’, ‘Shame’ is interested in the stark immediacy of one man’s world and drawing us into that world without judgement or easy explanations.

Fassbender builds on his work with McQueen in ‘Hunger’ to offer a nuanced tragic portrait of Brandon, a man who lives alone in his neat, upscale apartment and works in an aggressively male corporate environment. His public charm masks deep private troubles at which this story, set over a few days, only hints. He enjoys random sexual encounters, hires prostitutes, indulges in online porn and masturbates in the toilet at work. Taken alone, none of these things are so shocking and nor does McQueen, working here with co-writer Abi Morgan (‘Brick Lane’, the upcoming ‘The Iron Lady’) present them as such. Yet, taken together, they offer a sketch of a man addicted to sex. McQueen frames the actions in a steely, unflinching style, neither gratuitous nor coy. He takes us into the bedroom and under the sheets but does not even border on eroticism. Explanations are scarce – it’s down to us to make assumptions about the reasons behind Brandon’s behaviour.

Two key encounters throw light on Brandon’s condition and suggest darker reasons behind his active sex life. His sister, Sissy, comes to stay, seemingly after or in the middle of a break up, and their relationship is awkward and troubled. She thinks nothing of taking his smooth, big-mouthed and married work colleague (James Badge Dale) back to his apartment and bed. Emotionally, they’re completely disconnected, although Sissy crawls into bed with Brandon at night seeking comfort (he screams at her to leave) and when she walks in on him wanking in their toilet he leaps on her in a childlike fashion, like siblings squabbling, but with troubling undertones. You come to imagine that they have some shared family trauma with which they have not even begun to deal – but this is as far as McQueen goes to explaining Brandon’s personality explicitly.

The other telling foil for Brandon is a work colleague, Marianne (Nicole Beharie, a warm, tender presence), with whom he goes out on a dinner date. Brandon soon explains his bafflement at marriage and any sort of coupling and their relationship stalls when they reach the bed. Before then, the pair share a strong, comic and easy scene in a restaurant as they negotiate dinner while an over-attentive waiter buzzes around them.

Mulligan is very much a side-player to Fassbender. Although her character, Sissy, recurs throughout the film, the focus is not so much on her, and she struggles to communicate a lot with a little. She has an entrancing scene in which she sings a slow version of ‘New York, New York’ is an upscale city bar and McQueen lingers long on her face in close-up. The scene has the same pausing and captivating effect of those scenes of musicians that Pedro Almodóvar loves to put in his films. Early on, when Mulligan first appears, you briefly wonder why two British actors are heading up a New York story, but the story reveals in passing that they moved to New Jersey from Ireland as kids, and this is only a minor worry. Both actors offer strong work, especially Fassbender: as in ‘Fish Tank’, he plays on his ability to mix charm and beauty with a more reckless, dangerous undercurrent.

In the end, despite so many naked revelations – so much flesh and so many encounters – Brandon remains a mystery. The film leaves us with a sense of cycles repeating themselves. There’s a welcome and appropriate absence of closure, even though McQueen and Morgan are not bold enough to leave their immediate story hanging in the same open-ended and provocative way: they round off this chapter in Brandon’s life with an event which is a little too conclusive – too obvious, even – for the film that surrounds it.

That event might trouble in the moment but it doesn’t sink the film. Far from it. After ‘Hunger’, McQueen has immersed himself in a wholly different world and made a film that is similarly distinctive and exploratory and grasps you from beginning to end. He has also succeeded in making a film about an extreme character that doesn’t feel so divorced from everyday sexual desire and behaviour. You imagine McQueen feels there’s a lot of many – or all – of us in Brandon, even if his troubles feel quite uniquely tragic in the moment.

Author: Dave Calhoun

Time Out Online Venice Film Festival 2011
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:19 am

http://www.altfg.com/blog/movie/shame-sex-addition-michael-fassbender-steve-mcqueen/

Sex Addiction at the Movies: Steve McQueen-Michael Fassbender's SHAME
Andre Soares | Sep 5, 2011

Shame, writer-director Steve McQueen's follow-up effort to his acclaimed IRA drama Hunger, has been getting all-around excellent notices for the film itself, for McQueen's stylistic choices, and for Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan's performances as a pair of troubled siblings, one of whom gets to sing "New York, New York" off-key. Shame has been screened at both the Venice and Telluride film festivals, and will next be seen in Toronto.

In Shame, Fassbender plays Brandon, a New York corporate worker who suffers from a horrible, thoroughly politically incorrect disease named Sex Addiction. Brandon has sex at least once a day (!!) in different locales, with different people (including prostitutes), and in different positions. Ah, he also takes part in Internet sex chat rooms, and has an extensive porn collection in his computer and elsewhere in his home. But most horrifically of all, he masturbates, too.

Everything is going more or less according to plan — or at least as according to plan as things can go for a masturbating sex addict — when his needy sister (Mulligan) moves in with him.

"This is a man who has access to everything, but his freedom imprisons him," McQueen remarked at a press conference in Venice. Sounding just like someone talking about the social and moral dangers of television back in 1967, the filmmaker then added, "This film is about politics, our relationships with sex and the Internet. It's about how our lives have been changed by the Internet, how [we] are losing interactions. We've been tainted, it's unavoidable."

If the above sounds like commonplace, moralistic bullshit, well, it is. But it's exactly the sort of commonplace, moralistic bullshit that earns movies and filmmakers critical accolades and awards.

As for Michael Fassbender, the star of McQueen's Hunger, he is clearly a strong contender for the 2012 Best Actor Oscar — in case Shame finds a US distributor that'll release it in the Los Angeles area by December 31, something that seems all but inevitable. Although Academy members tend to shy away from movies that feature graphic or semi-graphic on-screen sex, Michelle Williams did get a Best Actress nod earlier this year for Blue Valentine, which almost got slapped with an NC-17 rating. Not to mention Marlon Brando's Best Actor nod for his work as a desperate widower in Bernardo Bertolucci's sexually charged Last Tango in Paris back in early 1974. [Check out the Brando-Maria Schneider laughably phony butter-sex scene here.] As a plus, Fassbender has the following under his 2011 cinematic belt: Jane Eyre, X-Men: First Class, and Venice Film Festival entry A Dangerous Method. (Shame has a Jan. 12, 2012, UK release date.)

I should add that McQueen's film has absolutely nothing to do with the 1968 Ingmar Bergman classic. In fact, the new Shame got its title because during McQueen and co-screenwriter Abi Morgan's talks with so-called "sex addicts," the word "shame … kept popping up, it was the one unifying emotion." Doesn't that sound like an even more appropriate title for a morality tale about, say, homosexuality in the 1940s or 1950s — or most places today, for that matter? (And no, Bergman's movie has nothing to do with gays or lesbians, either.)

Now, will someone be gutsy enough to make a movie about the dangers of compulsive moralizing? Or what about a movie about an even more aberrant psychological dysfunction, compulsive celibacy? In the next post you'll find a few Shame review snippets. Please click on the link at the bottom of this piece.

Steve McQueen quotes: Agence France-Presse
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:19 am

http://www.altfg.com/blog/movie/shame-reviews-michael-fassbender-steve-mcqueen/

SHAME Reviews: Raves for Michael Fassbender, Steve McQueen
Andre Soares | Sep 5, 2011 | Comments Share5

Michael Fassbender, Shame
Michael Fassbender, Shame

Steve McQueen-Michael Fassbender's SHAME: Sex Addiction at the Movies

Directed by Steve McQueen (no relation to the star of Bullitt and The Getaway), and written by McQueen and playwright Abi Morgan, Shame was screened at the Venice and Telluride film festivals. Its next stop is the Toronto Film Festival later this month. McQueen's drama revolves around the dangers of sex addiction and troubled family relationships in our Internet-connected world where easy sex is always at everyone's fingertips (if you're really, really, but really lucky). Shame stars Michael Fassbender (McQueen's leading man in Hunger, Rochester in the latest Jane Eyre), Best Actress Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan (An Education), James Badge Dale, Nicole Beharie, Hannah Ware, and Amy Hargreaves.

"Driven by a brilliant, ferocious performance by Michael Fassbender, Shame is a real walk on the wild side, a scorching look at a case of sexual addiction that’s as all-encompassing as a craving for drugs. Steve McQueen’s second feature, after his exceptional debut with Hunger in 2008, may ultimately prove too psychologically pat in confronting its subject’s problem, but its dramatic and stylistic prowess provides a cinematic jolt that is bracing to experience." Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter.

McCarthy's "psychologically pat" remark refers to the following: "Given the boldness of Shame in its aesthetic approach, blunt sexuality, graphic nudity and sometimes exalted musical overlays, it’s a bit of a letdown to sense that McQueen and his co-screenwriter Abi Morgan ultimately present Brandon as something of a case study in sexual aberration due to stunted emotional growth stemming from a troubled upbringing. For a film so otherwise out-there, such a formulation feels too redolent of traditional psychoanalytical explanations for what society perceives as wayward behavior."

"Shame feels less formal, less rooted in the language of the art installation than McQueen's previous film, Hunger, and is all the more satisfying for that. This is fluid, rigorous, serious cinema; the best kind of adult movie. There are glimmers of American Gigolo to its pristine sheen and echoes of Midnight Cowboy to the scratchy, mutual dependence of the damaged duo at the core." Xan Brooks, The Guardian.

"At times, [McQueen's] camera displays an excessive experimental vocation … but here he wisely uses this visual language to convey sensations. … [T]his is a story that is memorable, that conveys bitterness, compulsion, and the pathetic interior isolation of its protagonist, enveloping you and changing your spirit in a disturbing manner." Carlos Boyero, from the Madrid daily El Pais.

"There’s no shortage of naked flesh in British director Steve McQueen’s Shame — the film is certain to receive the adults-only NC-17 rating — but it’s human emotions that are truly laid bare in the new drama about sexual compulsion." John Horn, Los Angeles Times.

"He enjoys random sexual encounters, hires prostitutes, indulges in online porn and masturbates in the toilet at work. Taken alone, none of these things are so shocking and nor does McQueen, working here with co-writer Abi Morgan (Brick Lane, the upcoming The Iron Lady) present them as such. Yet, taken together, they offer a sketch of a man addicted to sex. McQueen frames the actions in a steely, unflinching style, neither gratuitous nor coy. He takes us into the bedroom and under the sheets but does not even border on eroticism. Explanations are scarce – it’s down to us to make assumptions about the reasons behind Brandon’s behavior." Dave Calhoun, Time Out London.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:20 am

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/film/review-23983839-shame-contagion-venice-film-festival---review.do

Shame / Contagion, Venice Film Festival - review
Shame
Wayward intensity: Carey Mulligan as Sissy in Shame

Derek Malcolm By Derek Malcolm
5 Sep 2011

SHAME
****

CONTAGION
***

One of the best reasons for seeing Hunger, Steve McQueen's debut feature film, was the performance of Michael Fassbender as Irish hunger-striker Bobby Sands.

He is also a good reason to watch Shame, McQueen's coruscating follow-up, co-written with Abi Morgan, about a sex addict. Here he plays Brandon, a thirtysomething businessman living comfortably in his New York apartment where he entertains a stream of women. Whores will do if there's no one else available.

Fassbender acts out a part with obsessional intensity until the arrival of Sissy (Carey Mulligan, in an equally provoking part) his wayward and possibly suicidal sister. If Brandon has needs, one of them seems to be to keep her from going entirely off the rails.

McQueen's film-making is undoubtedly powerful and without compromise, especially during the frequent sex scenes, which depict a man on the edge intent on propelling himself over the cliff. The only weakness is that the film provides so few clues as to precisely why Brandon is creating a kind of sexual prison for himself. It is obviously something in the couple's past, but what?

We don't have to be told the whole story. But it would help a film, the remorseless journey of which in the end becomes counter-productive. But you can't criticise Fassbender, whose command of the screen is total.

A bevy of stars adorn Steven Soderbergh's Contagion which graphically shows what might happen if a deadly virus assailed the world and nobody knew how to break the code that might cure it. Marion Cotillard is a kidnapped WHO doctor, Matt Damon is one of the few to be immune, Jude Law is a campaigning journalist, Kate Winslet and Jennifer Ehle are doctors and Gwyneth Paltrow dies early and has her skull stripped open.

Soderbergh, with a budget to roam the world, gives us genuinely creepy moments as information and misinformation spread as fast as the mutating virus itself. But this is more of a commercial blockbuster than food for thought at a festival.

None the worse for that, but able to make us giggle a bit as well as shiver.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:26 am

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/awards-campaign/posts/review-steve-mcqueens-shame-is-simply-a-spectacular-work-of-art

Review: Steve McQueen's 'Shame' with Michael Fassbender is simply a spectacular work of art

Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan are superb

By Gregory Ellwood Monday, Sep 5, 2011 3:08 AM

Critic's Rating A
Readers' Rating A+
Review: Steve McQueen's 'Shame' is simply a spectacular work of art

TELLURIDE - A remarkable snapshot of the perils of sexual compulsion in the modern world, Steve McQueen's new drama "Shame" is simply a spectacular work of art. The film debuted almost simultaneously at the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals Sunday.

Set exclusively in Manhattan, "Shame" begins with a shot of Brandon (Michael Fassbender) lying on his bed, sheet draped over his lower torso starring ahead at the viewer almost in a daze. We quickly learn that the seemingly successful thirtysomething (we are never exactly sure what his profession is) spends almost all of his free time looking for sexual release. It can be with a hooker, traditional porn, masturbating in a workplace toilet, a random hook up or via a web cam. When not with his business colleagues it clear he does nothing else. And, conveniently, New York is a fine urban smorgasbord for his inclinations. Take note, however, Brandon is not living in some sort of modern sexual paradise. He hardly seems happy or to truly enjoy his endeavors. It's a shame he internalizes, but cannot discard. His daily frustration increases when his only sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) appears on his doorstep looking for a place to crash.

Brandon and Sissy have a complex relationship that's only implied at during the picture. A promising singer, Sissy has visible scars on her arms from cutting herself when she was younger (or so we're told). Brandon isn't just disturbed that her presence affects his sexual routine. There is an underlying conflict from the past that is at work here as well. Were both victims of abuse? Why are their parents never mentioned? Why is Sissy so emotional and attached while Brandon is reserved and unaffectionate? We never learn the exact answers to these questions because to McQueen and co-writer Abi Morgan (the upcoming "The Iron Lady") aren't looking to justify their protagonists current mental states. These are just people like the rest of us, we just might not see their afflictions in the every day world. In many ways, it's the most chilling observation the filmmakers make in "Shame."

McQueen background in cinematic art films is a huge and positive influence on his overall aesthetic in this narrative exercise. Unlike other filmmakers, he's not afraid to hold on a long shot, but isn't being intentionally pretentious in doing so either. In one startling and moving scene on a subway, McQueen takes a risk by sampling Hans Zimmer's score from "A Thin Red Line" ("Journey to the Line") instead of using original music. On his way to work, Brandon has eyed as beautiful blond woman across the car (relatively unknown Lucy Walters). She notices his starring and at first is flattered, but then slowly becomes disturbed and uncomfortable by his gaze. As she stands to exit the subway McQueen focuses on her hand on the metal pole and the audience sees her wedding ring. Brandon quickly stands behind her still thinking he has an opportunity of a score. As the car doors open, she dashes through the crowd attempting to escape the situation and the music swells as an obsessed Brandon continues to run after her only to lose her at the top of the station. It's an absolute knockout of a sequence all around, but also moving because this is when the audience first realizes how unaware Brandon can be of his actions in the real world.

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Unlike Fassbender's role as Carl Jung inDavid Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" (also screened at Telluride), a man who represses himself due to society's demands at the time, Brandon is a powder keg of sexual energy. Fassbender demonstrates Brandon's need to control his addictive desires by depicting him as quiet and intentional in his movements and actions as possible. That's not to infer Brandon seems shy, but he's not the charismatic ladies man one might assume of someone with his compulsions.

Like his previous work with McQueen in "Hunger," Fassbender bares it all in what seems more like a natural and necessary artistic collaboration than titillating eroticism. And a point must be made that while beautifully shot the sexual scenes in the film aren't always intended to be erotic for the viewer. In fact, the picture may contain the saddest sex scenes in recent memory. A key moment finds Brandon rapturously entranced with his compulsions while in the middle of a gluttonous three-way with two ladies (after already being serviced by a man in the film's only hint of whether Brandon will switch sides). Fassbender demonstrates his character's anguish over what he's actually doing in a haunting moment McQueen expertly catches. He's been superb in films such as "Inglorious Basterds," "Fish Tank" and even "X-Men: First Class," but this is absolutely Fassbender's finest work to date.

As for Mulligan, the former Academy Award nominee continues to surprise this summer. Her work in "Never Let Me Go" was solid, but wasn't much of a thematic stretch from "An Education." With her quietly poignant turn in "Drive" and, now, "Shame" she's living up to the hype. Sissy is a character unlike any other she's played before and Mulligan complete inhabits her wild and wounded side. When she sings a bluesy cover of "New York New York" accompanied by just piano, you believe her striking voice could actually cause Brandon to shed a tear. The role screams of awards accolades and should be a big heads up to other filmmakers that Mulligan is not your typical talented British ingenue.

In a perfect world, "Shame" would be the sort of film moviegoers, the guilds and the Academy would embrace either this year or next. The intense sex scenes and nudity, however, make one question whether that might be to difficult a dream to pull off. And quite honestly, that's neither here nor there. "Shame" is clearly one of the best films of the year and deserves the opportunity to find an audience who will appreciate McQueen's achievement. Let's hope that's the case.

"Shame" will also screen at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival beginning next week.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:43 pm

http://minimoonstar.tumblr.com/post/9875560379/shame-proper-review-y-writeup

September 6, 2011
Shame (proper review-y writeup)

I have to credit this movie because I was still mentally turning it over 48 hours after the fact, which has to count for something. (It’s also been getting massive buzz here, which answers my pressing question of what hetero dudes think of it. Some people did walk out of my screening.)

Better-formed thoughts (spoiler cut):

This would have been a better movie if it had followed Carey Mulligan’s character half the time, instead of her role being solely the catalyst of her brother’s story. She was so good, and the screen lit up like anything when they were in the same room. It’s also clear that if anyone could help either of them, it would have to be each other, and by the end of the movie what you desperately want to see is some character growth, if not an explanation for why they’re effed up (family, one would imagine. What else?)

The date between the protagonist and his coworker is the real-est portrayal of first date awkwardness I’ve ever seen on film, intrusive waiter and all. The movie would have been worth it for that scene alone. Memory has it the whole first ten minutes is one uninterrupted long shot: you surreptitiously listening in on the couple the next table over, side-eying her body language as she visibly reclassifies him from “hot work crush” to “charming, would still bone on rebound from failed marriage, but soooo not relationship material”. Uncomfortably - that word again - this is also the scene where it is least obvious that Michael Fassbender is playing a character.

The sex scene, later, too (the central one). Also one long uninterrupted take! I guess if I were a proper film critic I would notice this stuff and be impressed while watching, instead of replaying it in memory afterward.

Other sources of discomfort: the fact that Fassbender’s character would pass every litmus test I would visit on a potential bar scene pickup, including the extra ones I devise just for investment bankers. The fact that at one point, you just want him to stop having sex on-screen for the love of pete, dude, just stop, because you the audience realize Something Bad is happening even if the character unaccountably doesn’t. The fact that everyone must do that thing with the Chinese takeout and the beer, and the laptop… right?

The character arc is reminiscent of George Clooney’s in Up In The Air, only considerably less classy - that is, at first the guy thinks he’s basically OK, and by the end realizes he is very much not OK but has no idea what to do about it.** This is all without words; he never talks about his feelings without fronting like a boss. The title really does sum up the story: if you feel ashamed of your behaviour, it should be a wake-up call, but by definition you can’t be shamed if you don’t have any actual people in your life to face up to.


MUSIC ALERT: Michael Fassbender’s character owns Chic’s “I Want Your Love” in 12” vinyl***, but refuses to dance when he is out on the town. Instead he stands at the bar with a martini and stares intensely at the woman he wants, waiting for her to crack first and pick him up. Carey Mulligan plays a singer; I should try not to spoil it beyond that.

** Live somewhere that is not New York City. Cancel broadband. Take up a time-consuming and physically demanding hobby that demands solitude and deep reflection and involves no female or, for that matter, other male participants.

*** I know, right? Maybe it was the Todd Terje edit at that. Maybe. Can’t be.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:15 pm

http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201109/tom-carson-toronto-film-festival-shame-michael-fassbender

GQ at the Toronto Film Festival: September 12th
Michael Fassbender. Carey Mulligan. Sex addiction. Full-frontal nudity. On that information alone, our critic knows you're going to go see the festival's buzziest film, Shame, when it comes to a theater near you. But is it any good?
By Tom Carson
September 13, 2011

Nobody remembers a rotten-sounding 1975 farce called No Sex, Please, We're British, but all I can say is, "Those were the days." I spent Monday morning watching a naked Michael Fassbender tool everything in sight—well, except Carey Mulligan, but she does play his sister, and that's the man's whole problem—in fashionista filmmaker Steve McQueen's hot-ticket Shame. Then I traipsed off to see Maggie Gyllenhaal go Brit in Hysteria, which is all about the invention of the vibrator in Victorian London. Does anybody have a cigarette?

Shame was the one that the people who make it their business to proclaim What Everyone's Talking About were talking about. McQueen's 2008 debut feature, Hunger, starred a memorably emaciated Fassbender as IRA martyr Bobby Sands, who starved himself to death in prison back in 1981, and its Camera D'Or win at Cannes put both actor and director on the map. For the reprise—and what's next, Vainglory?—they're tackling a diferent kind of extreme behavior: sex addiction, incarnated by a much more buff Fassbender as a fellow named Brandon, whose priapism leaves Bill Clinton's rap sheet looking like karaoke night.

At least until Mulligan shows up as Sissy—desperate to crash at her brother's pad and flashing more red flags and red herrings than a Soviet aquarium—Brandon has a pretty swank life in Manhattan. His cushy job's nature stays unspecified even in the office scenes, our first hint that the world as drones like us know it isn't McQueen's concern. At work, Brandon scarfs up online porn before hurling himself into the nearest men's room to flog the dolphin until the cows come home. On his own time, more porn and more wrist work fill the gaps between hookers and bar pickups. Every last one is a babe eager to peel, and I know what you're thinking: "This guy's got it made." But that attitude, gents, is not what Great Art is made of.

Don't get me wrong. McQueen has so much talent to burn that theaters ought to post warnings about smoke asphyxiation. There isn't a frame in the movie that isn't intricately planned—not only visually arresting, but designed to bear out the theme. Since that notoriously erratic performer New York City plays itself and his signature is long, fanatically controlled takes without a single flaw, the achievement really is kind of incredible. It's just that, at times, people may find themselves marvelling, "Wow, that shot must have been insanely hard to get"—and McQueen, whose dedication to his material is at once impressive and peculiarly abstract, may not even consider that reaction symptomatic of a failure to involve us at what used to be called the human level.

Another side of Shame I don't trust at all that—in the tradition of Closer, Eyes Wide Shut, and poor old Last Tango in Paris—it's one more important-looking movie under the impression that the way to lay bare the truth about sexuality is by leaving out the rest of human experience. You know, spot the fallacy there. Beyond the obvious chic of letting us live vicariously, one reason this type of movie so often features well-heeled, fabulously comely people without material concerns is that it makes their monomania less farcical. Brandon's life would be very different if his budget forced him to choose between call girls and paying for, say, a hernia operation. Come to think of it, that's the sex-obsession movie I'd love to see—starring Paul Giamatti, maybe, or Kevin James.

Besides, there's such a thing as "subtlety" that never stops hitting you over the head with a mallet. McQueen may think he's playing it cool by never spelling out the thwarted-incest subtext driving Brandon and Sissy's relationship, but all too often, the subtext is the only thing in sight. When Sissy asks her brooding bro why he's so angry, you pine for a vintage grindhouse audience to shout back, "Because he wants to bang you, ya friggin' nitwit! And he can't."

That's why it's faintly maddening that—thanks not only to the director's formidable visual command, but the terrific performances he gets out of his cast—you kind of buy the movie while it's going on. Luckily for us, McQueen's control-freak side doesn't extend to his actors, in that soul-crushing Kubrickian way. Fassbender is a powerhouse here, especially in some demanding scenes once Brandon's impulses turn his behavior ever more degraded. (What, you didn't think he'd become degraded? At least in movies, what else are threesomes for?) Not only is Mulligan's work equally compelling, but you have to hand it to them both for tackling Shame at a stage of their careers when their agents must be screaming about the big bucks coming their way if they just play it safe. Even if they're gambling that the artistic cred earned by being called "fearless" (the cliché for this sort of thing—just ask Charlotte Gainsbourg) is worth it, that's fine with me.

Since McQueen knows what he's got, one of his wittiest stratagems is to show both his stars full-frontal nude early on. For "there, that's done with" insolence, his gamesmanship is hard to beat. Then he lets Fassbender and Mulligan demonstrate what they can do with their clothes on, and that goes for everybody else on-screen as well. As Brandon's boss, James Badge Dale (The Pacific) looks more than ever like one of the most resourceful young actors around. Nicole Beharie, who plays a co-worker Brandon briefly pursues, has such poise and unpredictable timing in her big scene—a single-take restaurant conversation on their only public date—that it takes you several minutes to notice the tattletale shortage of pedestrians outside the joint's window. Even an actress we only glimpse (she's one more of Brandon's hired bedmates) gets McQueen's full interest and attention. While I'd love to be sure of her name, that's none too easy with credits that list roles like "Late Night Lover #2."

Because odds are you're going to see Shame anyway, all this just amounts to saying that you won't be wasting your time even if The Meaning of It All is on the dubious side. As for Hysteria, it's not much good, but reasonably watchable in a dumb sort of way. Some unduly jokey stuff about our quaint Victorians forebears' discovery of sex toys has been clumsily welded to a period rom-com, with Gyllenhaal's proto-feminist crusader first alarming, then tempting Hugh Dancy as the prim doctor whose best pal (Rupert Everett) provides the technological know-how for the gadget that cures half of Britain's women of the blues.

The movie's main interest is that I'm not sure I've ever seen an actress work as brazenly to turn a trite part into an audition reel as Gyllenhaal does here. She isn't playing a character so much as reminding us at every turn that Maggie Gyllenhaal has saucy charm, Maggie Gyllenhaal can make even a dull line go pop, and Maggie Gyllenhaal is merrily incredulous—if, perhaps, secretly wounded—that not everybody appreciates all this about Maggie Gyllenhaal. All the same, she isn't totally wrong. Her Brit accent sure improves on Anne Hathaway's in One Day, too.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:44 pm

http://www.movies.com/movie-news/shame-review-telluride/4355

'Shame' Telluride Review: Michael Fassbender Destroys in Steve McQueen's Second Film
By Eugene Novikov Sep 05, 2011 Comments (1)

Shame

On one level, Shame is about sex addiction, though we never see Brandon (Michael Fassbender) having sex in a bed with a woman who isn't a prostitute. His more typical m.o. is porn on his laptop and wanking in the office bathroom at the Wall Street firm where he works. He's charming and good-looking and has no problems around women, but sex for him is a compulsion rather than an interaction, or even an enjoyable experience. We watch him pick up a beautiful woman at a bar without even trying -- much to the chagrin of his more typically horny boss (James Badge Dale) -- but then they go off and do it under a bridge.

On another level, Shame is about Brandon's relationship with his younger sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan). Brandon ignores her pleading phone calls, until finally she just shows up at his small, spare Manhattan apartment (along with his job, the only sign that he is a functional human being) and asks to stay. This is his worst nightmare, but he can't say no. They share an affectionate moment while waiting for the subway -- she tweaks him about lint on his coat; he picks it off and puts it on hers -- but it is brief and fleeting. Brandon won't communicate, and he brutally lashes out. She tries in vain to get through to him, a task that takes on increased urgency as the film proceeds. Near the end they have a single-take conversation so brutal and emotionally raw that it nearly made me keel over from the adrenaline shooting through my body. For Sissy, it's like banging against a brick wall that also hits back.

Finally and more fundamentally, Shame is about a man so filled with self-loathing that honest communication with others -- never mind any kind of relationship -- is an impossibility. He might as easily sprout wings and fly. He can't share any part of himself with anyone, romantically or otherwise, because he finds himself disgusting. His urges, compulsions and predilections make him want to vomit. You are hereby invited to imagine what it is like to live this way.

Shame is harsh and difficult to watch, as it must be. It puts Brandon's living hell front and center and never looks away. Fassbender's performance is an instant legend. Brandon says not a single expository thing, beyond at one point revealing that he was born in Ireland and moved to the States as a teen. Everything else that comes out of his mouth -- and it isn't much -- is a lie or a front. Fassbender reveals Brandon's truth entirely without dialogue. It is, appropriately enough, a performance difficult to describe in words.

The film was directed by Steve McQueen, whose feature debut Hunger, also starring Fassbender, rocketed him to the top of the highbrow A-list three years ago. I didn't like Hunger, which stubbornly kept itself at an emotional remove from the audience, and played like art film posturing. With Shame, McQueen has done a 180, plunging us so deeply and wholly into his protagonist's turmoil and despair that it becomes almost unwatchable.

McQueen and his cinematographer, Sean Bobbitt, shoot in lovely, unshowy long takes, getting out of the way and letting us and the actors get cozy with the characters. They regard conversations and silent angst as unflinchingly as they do the sexually explicit material (which is plentiful; an NC-17 rating is assured if the film is even submitted to the MPAA). Manhattan looks desolate and sad here, as it surely would to Brandon. Carey Mulligan and Nicole Behaire, the latter playing the target of Brandon's ill-fated attempt to go on an actual date, are effortlessly real in key supporting roles. Like Fassbender, they are able to suggest a wealth of background that goes unspoken.

Shame's reception among the Telluride audience has been polarized. One woman told me that it is one of the worst movies she had ever seen it. It's "not for everyone," in the irritating sense of the phrase that means it's not for people who think movies shouldn't be difficult or distressing. Do with that information what you will, but miss Shame at your peril. It is astonishing.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:05 pm

http://twitchfilm.com/reviews/2011/09/tiff-2011-shame-review.php

TIFF 2011: SHAME Review

by Kurt Halfyard, September 15, 2011 11:09 AM
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Drama, Toronto Film Festival 2011, UK, Ireland, Australia & New Zealand
There is a shot early on in Steve McQueen's Shame, a frame filling close-up on Carey Mulligan as she sings a desperate, melancholic version of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" that is such pure cinema, albeit in a highly stylized and perhaps melodramatic form, but it gets at truth. Mulligan portrays Sissy, the emotionally need sister to Michael Fassbender's, intimacy challenged Brandon, and her song, performed in an upscale New York City club is one of only a couple fleeting moments that she gets through to him emotionally. Earlier, for a instant or two, you see Fassbender's face slightly out of focus with low lighting, the visage of a skull, as if to imply he is a drug addict or dying or dead. Shame is a movie about unfulfillment in a time and age where anything is possible, instant gratification for a buck, at any time during the day, particularly in a city like New York.

Brandon has some sort of successful corporate job, and a solid relationship with his boss, David. Despite David's established domestic life, a wife and two kids await at home, the two of them cruise the nightclubs with after work. David is all manic and eager to please as he tries to pick up, whereas Brandon is silent, mysterious, cool. Brandon has a lot more success at the bars, leading to a series of one night stands. In the mean time, a steady diet of internet pornography, the occasional stalking of an random attractive woman on a subway train. That scene, actually a pair of scenes which form narrative bookends for the film, is also telling. There is an instant, honest - if that is the right word - attraction between this married woman and Brandon, a glance that recalls Nicole Kidman's speech about mental infidelity and lust Eyes Wide Shut. This woman flashes her wedding ring as if some kind of ward, and nonplussed, Brandon practically chases her up the platform. She escapes, if only narrowly. A tryst with a co-worker in the film further underscores the tug and push of Brandon's particular condition, there is a hint that something intimate and real might come out of things, and that shuts him down. It must be terribly confusing for her, after they share a warm and charming evening of food and conversation the night before. The movie flits from the woods and incandescent lighting of street level New York clubs with the press of flesh and life, to Brandon's stark black and white apartment, trapped and isolated on the umpteenth floor of a glass and steel condo. Displacement is further underscored when Brandon listens to a series of desperate answering machine messages which echo in the cold space.

Far away from Blanket Strike prison protest and unconventional biopic essayed in Hunger, Shame feels like a significant step up. This may be a case specific to myself, for as much as I admired the disciplined and virtuoso style filmmaking there, the case of Bobby Sands and his commitment to the IRA and its political status remained walled off, perhaps too mannered. Maybe it was the excessive use of low depth macro lenses in that one, or the first act focus on the prison guard. Either way, I admired it a lot, but there was little to grasp for me beyond the visceral. The malaise that affects Brandon has far more 'ins' emotionally. Fassbender gives a naked (figuratively and literally) performance that is all big emoting and subtle stillness in service of making a character that is not realistic per se, but quite interesting as multidimensional embodiment of type. He is the 'ultimate sex addict,' an uber-distillation of the themes and ideas that McQueen wants to get up on screen. He is also utterly magnetic and completely convincing. Still the surprise here is Mulligan, whom as Brandon's sister it is intimated, in a single line of dialogue, that they had a rough childhood (possibly even incestuous.) This line of dialogue is hardly necessary when the emotional and often physical mess of Sissy is in such plain sight. She fucks Brandon's boss practically right in front of her brother. She begs and pleads for Brandon's couch to crash on to get her life together. Her proximity to her family, and desperate need for an intimate or emotional cushion to the world, is the crux of the film. These characters and their inability to find some lasting solution to what ails them is a powerful and fitting interrogation of modern western society through a very specific human lens.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:07 pm

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/film-cinema/shame-method-in-the-madness-2877601.html

Shame: Method in the madness

Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender in 'Shame'

Bay Area LUNAFEST Film Festival Sept. 22, 2011. Buy Tickets Now.

By Geoffrey Macnab

Thursday September 15 2011

Michael Fassbender’s acclaimed screen performance as a sex addict takes its cue from the immersive school of American drama.

You've got to physically and mentally become that person you are portraying," Robert De Niro famously proclaimed when he was starring in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976). Before shooting began, De Niro got himself a cab driver's licence and spent nights in New York picking up customers. His preparation for Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980) was even more gruelling: he went on a binge eating trip across Europe and put on more than 60lb in order to show ageing middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta in his declining years.

Such extreme dedication was only what we expected from the best American "Method" actors who learned their craft with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio or studied with other prominent, Stanislavski-influenced acting gurus such as Stella Adler (Marlon Brando's mentor) and Sanford Meisner. The actors' instinct was to immerse themselves utterly in their roles.

This isn't an approach that was much embraced this side of the Atlantic until recently. However, in films from Bronson to The Machinist, from Shame to Hunger, the likes of Tom Hardy, Christian Bale and Michael Fassbender have brought a brooding, introspective intensity to their performances that has occasionally made even their more illustrious American predecessors seem half-hearted by comparison.

Irish raised Fassbender won the Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival this week for his performance as the sex-addicted New Yorker in Steve McQueen's Shame. What is startling is the reckless energy he brings to the role. "Shame examines a person who has all the Western freedoms and through his apparent sexual freedom creates his own prison," McQueen commented of the Fassbender character in his Director's Statement. "As we witness – and become desensitised to – the continued and continual sexualisation of society, how does anyone navigate through this maze and not be tainted by the surroundings? It is this 'elephant in the room' that I wish to explore."

The sex scenes, graphic and joyless, must have been very gruelling indeed to shoot. Fassbender talked in Venice about "just having to jump into it... the most important thing is to make sure everybody involved is comfortable, as much as they can be, and then just go for it, so you don't have to do many takes."

His real challenge wasn't the nudity required or even the physicality of the role, but in portraying a troubled and suffering character. This is something that a porn actor simply couldn't have done. (There's an emotional resonance to Shame that you don't find, for example, in the films that French auteur Catherine Breillat made with Italian porn star Rocco Siffredi.) Fassbender's Brandon doesn't have a huge amount of dialogue. Nonetheless, his anguish grows increasingly obvious. In certain scenes, when we see him roaming forlornly through the New York streets, being beaten up outside a bar or humiliating himself in a gay brothel, he invokes memories of Brando's grief-stricken Lothario in Last Tango in Paris (1972). At the same time, he shares the social awkwardness of De Niro's Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, who tries to woo political campaigner Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) by taking her to an all-night porno theatre to watch a blue movie.

It's a mark of pride for Method actors that they have a chameleon-like ability to switch personality as they switch roles. In the early 1950s, Brando went from playing a paraplegic war veteran in The Men (1950) to portraying the swaggering, ultra-macho Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). In his recent film career, Fassbender has been undergoing some similarly radical transformations. He is a suitably saturnine and whiskered Mr Rochester in the new screen version of Jane Eyre. In David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, he plays Carl Jung in detached fashion, as someone always analysing and fascinated by his own instincts. There's a mix of pathos and even comedy in the scenes in which he is shown, still formally dressed, very solemnly spanking his patient Sabina (Keira Knightley), with whom he starts an affair. By complete contrast, in his breakthrough role as IRA prisoner Bobby Sands in Hunger (2008), he is portraying a character who (as director Steve McQueen puts it) is "using his body as a political tool."

De Niro used to talk about actors using their bodies as an instrument – "It's like knowing how to play the piano." The extreme transformations he underwent in the name of his craft are matched by those of Fassbender, Bale and Hardy in their best-known movies.

Bale famously denied himself food and sleep in preparation for The Machnist, turning himself into a jagged, pale-looking ghoul. In today's digital era, you'd expect the same cadaverous shape could be achieved through the use of doubles and computer simulation. What Bale realised, though, was that CGI and artificial performance-capture techniques like those used in Polar Express or Beowulf would never enable him really to inhabit a character: to match the gait, bearing, energy levels or mood swings of a long-term insomniac.

Hardy went to similar extremes when he played Britain's "most violent prisoner", Charles Bronson, in Nicolas Winding Refn's stylised 2008 biopic, shaving his head, putting on weight and muscling up. The role in Bronson came quick on the heels of an earlier film, Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007), for which he had been shedding the pounds to play a homeless drug addict.

Arguably, the rise of British Method acting started in earnest with some of the more extreme performances of Daniel Day-Lewis in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Day-Lewis self-consciously rejected the British theatrical tradition of screen acting and looked to the Method instead. Cast members on Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot tell stories about how he stayed in character throughout the shooting of the film. As he was playing Christy Brown, an artist with cerebral palsy, this required extraordinary physical dedication.

"He'd call you by your film name, and you'd call him Christy. It was madness. You'd be feeding him, wheeling him around. During the entire film, I only saw him walking once," actress turned director Kirsten Sheridan (who appeared in the film) told me of working with Day-Lewis on the film.

Another important factor in changing British attitudes toward screen acting was the increasing prominence of directors such as Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and (in his TV work) Alan Clarke, whose work featured working-class characters. In their different ways, all three encouraged their actors to embrace a far more realist approach to their craft. As the renegade Mancunian adrift in east London, David Thewlis gave an astonishing performance in Leigh's Naked (1993), bringing an emotional intensity and bristling sarcasm to the role. Actors such as Ray Winstone, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth, who cut their teeth in Clarke movies including Scum, The Firm and Made in Britain, had a physicality that more buttoned-up British screen actors from an earlier generation had always lacked.

Traditionally, RADA-trained British actors, who had done their stints in seaside rep or in the West End, had been far more inclined to use technique rather than delve into the darkest corners of their psyches. There was (they perceived) something uncouth and unseemly about the Method. This was underlined by Laurence Olivier's alleged put-down of Dustin Hoffman during the shooting of Marathon Man (1976). Startled by the intense and self-lacerating physical routine that Hoffman put himself through in the run-up to the torture scene in the movie, Olivier is said to have asked his American co-star: "Have you tried acting, dear boy?"

It makes a droll enough anecdote, but also hints at why British screen acting often seemed so timorous by comparison with the work of the great Method stars. Brando, James Dean and co had realised that the movie camera registers the smallest look or tic or gesture. They knew that to be truly effective on screen, it wasn't enough just to sketch in a few personality traits. They had to inhabit their characters.

A counter-argument can be made that some of the greatest British screen performances came precisely because they were so restrained. Think of Michael Redgrave in The Browning Version (1951) or Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter (1945) and The Heart of the Matter (1953). Playing mediocre middle-class men, disappointed in their careers or sex lives, Howard and Redgrave are able to convey their characters' sense of yearning in the subtlest fashion. There are no "You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit" style soliloquies like the ones Marlon Brando has in On the Waterfront. Instead, you see the loss and foreboding in their eyes. The very fact that they're bound by class and convention and that they're not extravagantly expressive in their gestures gives their performances an added resonance.

Like Olivier, Howard was disdainful of Method acting. He was appalled by Brando's off-screen antics and lack of punctuality on the set of Mutiny on the Bounty. "He may be the biggest bloody star in Christendom," Howard complained to one journalist, "but the man can't act." The ever-changing Alec Guinness has a fair claim as one of the greatest character actors in film history. Beneath his bland, Stan Laurel-like expression, he could always hint at a sense of seething inner turmoil.

Even so, the British suspicion of the Method didn't do its movie actors any favours. For too long, there was the sense that they looked down on cinema as little more than a lucrative sideline to their stage work. As Day-Lewis once said of Olivier, he "might have been a much better actor on film if he hadn't had that flippant attitude. [He] was a remarkable actor, but he was entirely missing the point consistently. He felt that film was an inferior form."

The difference with the newer generation of screen actors is that they don't suffer from their predecessors' snobberies or insecurities about movies. They're ready to throw themselves headlong into new roles. Whether they're playing sex addicts, gangsters, boxers, IRA hunger strikers, or even (in Bale's case) superheroes such as Batman, they approach new films with a ferocity and attention to detail that only De Niro and co. in their pomp could match. The fact that they're now so often playing Americans suggests that when it comes to Method, Britain may now even be the first port of call for casting agents.

- Geoffrey Macnab
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:38 pm

http://www.joblo.com/movie-news/review-shame-tiff-2011

Review: Shame (TIFF 2011)
Comments: 4
terometer
100%
Strike Back below!
by: Chris Bumbray Sep. 14, 2011


PLOT: Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a deeply troubled New Yorker, in the throws of an out-of-control sex addiction. While at work, he spends his days watching internet porn, and sneaking off to the washroom to masturbate. At home, he feeds his addictions with one-night-stands, hookers, and massive amounts of porn. His situation escalates when his troubled sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) comes to visit.

REVIEW: I think it's safe to say that after it's debut at the Venice Film Festival (where it netted Michael Fassbender the award for best actor), there was no film coming into TIFF with more controversy. All but guaranteed an NC-17 for all the full-frontal nudity, and graphic sex, director Steve McQueen (who previously directed Fassbender in the no less controversial HUNGER) asked the audience at the public screening I saw this with to forget all the controversy, and just “look” at the film- meaning, I wager, to let go of the baggage and form our own opinions.


This advice was dead-on, as SHAME truly is the kind of film you just need to surrender to. It's a deeply troubling depiction of sex addiction, which is presented is a very matter-of-fact manner. As portrayed by Fassbender, Brandon is like a shark, constantly cruising bars and nightclubs for sex- turning to hookers and porn if he strikes out. It's so bad that Brandon is incapable of having any kind of honest relationship, and when he tries to date a co-worker later in the film, he can't even perform, as to him having even the slightest bit of emotion introduced into the act is too much to handle.

It's suggested that both Brandon and his sister Sissy are damaged from a childhood of what I presume was constant sexual abuse, but it’s left ambiguous. Their relationship is extremely uncomfortable, with Sissy thinking nothing of walking in on a masturbating Brandon, or crawling naked into bed with him. Brandon tries to maintain his boundaries, but he has trouble, and in a spectacularly acted scene, he has a tantrum while being forced to listen to his sister having sex with his married, self-styled player boss in his own bedroom.


Both Fassbender and Carey Mulligan turn in fearless performances under McQueen`s obviously inspired direction. I still haven’t seen HUNGER, but it’s obvious from SHAME that he's a remarkable director, giving audiences the same kind of raw, emotional experience that those in the seventies probably got from the films of John Cassavetes. Actually, SHAME has a lot of interesting parallels to Cassavetes work, with this having a lot in common thematically with one of his best-films, LOVE STREAMS, that, uncomfortably cast him opposite his wife Gena Rowlands, as siblings. That said, even Cassavetes probably wouldn't have dared dive so deeply into taboo territory as McQueen does here.

However, it's wildly different from Cassavetes in one sense, in that visually it's very polished, with it being shot on high-grade 35mm film, and having a beautiful visual aesthetic that drives home the fact that McQueen began his career in the visual arts.

Of course, considering the subject matter, SHAME is not for everyone. It's a harrowing piece of work, and thoroughly disturbing. It demands a lot from it's audience, but if you're the adventurous type, who doesn't mind being challenged by a film, than SHAME is something that deserves your attention. To me, it's one of the truly great films of the Toronto Film Festival.

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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:40 pm

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/MOVIE-TORONTO-SHAME_6049921/MOVIE-TORONTO-SHAME_6049921/

Sexually explicit 'Shame' makes its case proudly

By Steven Zeitchik Los Angeles Times
First Posted: September 14, 2011 - 5:38 am
Last Updated: September 14, 2011 - 5:38 am

TORONTO — When it comes to Hollywood and awards, a little controversy can sometimes go a long way. If that’s the case this season, interest in the new movie “Shame” could stretch on for miles.

Centered on an attractive sex addict (played by Michael Fassbender) with crippling emotional issues, “Shame” has already created a significant stir. Over the last 10 days at the Toronto, Venice and Telluride film festivals, director Steve McQueen’s drama has been a source of debate, fascination and even discomfort among audiences. At the Toronto premiere on Sunday night, a woman fainted toward the end of the film (though apparently during a moment featuring a lot of blood, not explicit sex).

McQueen’s film is a visceral portrayal of a 30-ish upper-middle-class New Yorker, Brandon, who has a propensity for hard-core Internet porn, public sexual encounters with strangers and various forms of X-rated kinkiness. Brandon isn’t capable in his sex life of an emotional relationship; the prospect of a real human connection, let alone commitment, frightens him (so much so in one scene that he turns away from his partner, sends her home and immediately calls a prostitute).

The film also stars Carey Mulligan as Brandon’s sister, a free-spirited chanteuse who turns up on his doorstep and who, it soon becomes clear, has a complicated relationship with her brother, emotionally and otherwise. Mulligan’s first scene is one of full-frontal nudity; Fassbender, too, is buck-naked, front and back, from the opening minutes of the film. (Fassbender told reporters Monday that shooting the movie was as awkward as you’d expect. “It was pretty uncomfortable and sort of embarrassing to get naked or what-not in front of a crew of people,” he said.)

Yet “Shame” is far from an exploitation piece. The BAFTA-winning McQueen is prone to long takes and longer silences, and puts meticulous effort into composing each shot. A British painter-turned-filmmaker who made a splash in 2008 with the Irish Republican Army drama “Hunger” (also starring Fassbender), McQueen said he was surprised that his new film has proved polarizing.

“I didn’t do this to be provocative,” he said in an interview in Toronto on Tuesday. “They say Michael is naked. Half the people in the audience have what he has, and 99 percent of the audience has seen what he has. It’s the most unshocking thing you can think of.”

“Shame” was acquired by the specialty film powerhouse Fox Searchlight (the company that released Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” this year and was behind last year’s sensation, “Black Swan”). The movie will certainly be a commercial challenge when it is released, likely in December.

The early indications are that the studio will position the film as “Leaving Las Vegas” but with sex; indeed, in the interview McQueen said that, because of its “prevalence” of sex, “the movie is so now. But it still could have been anything — it could have been gambling and it could have been an alcohol addiction.”

Because Fox Searchlight is part of 20th Century Fox, which is a signatory to the Motion Picture Assn. of America, it must submit the film to the MPAA instead of releasing it without a rating (an option for smaller studios). That presents an issue — “Shame” seems destined to get an NC-17, and many theater chains refuse to play films with that rating. Re-cutting the movie so it lands an R is not an option, the studio has said; that would essentially turn the feature into a short film.

Hollywood studios are no strangers to ratings-induced challenges. Last year, the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams romantic drama “Blue Valentine” was initially tagged with an NC-17 before being given an R on appeal.

Still, there is precedent for a movie slapped with the MPAA’s harshest rating to find critical and commercial success. Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Last Tango in Paris,” for instance, was released as an X-rated movie in 1972. That generated enormous media interest, and the movie went on to attract crowds to theaters and also landed director and actor Oscar nominations.

For his part, Fassbender said he hopes the film’s controversial elements can become a selling point. “This film is being made contrary to a lot of the films out there,” he said. It’s “for an intelligent, brave audience that can participate instead of just eating popcorn and being entertained.”
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:36 am

http://collider.com/shame-review/110903/

TIFF 2011: SHAME Review
by Matt Goldberg Posted:September 12th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Alcoholics are told they’ll never find love in a bottle and drug addicts are told they’ll never find happiness in a needle. But what about sex addicts whose compulsion precludes them from intimacy and love? Steve McQueen’s Shame delves deep into the life of a sex addict and with laser-like focus examines the pain and torment that can drive such a person away from heartfelt interactions and towards self-destruction. McQueen’s inspired and confident direction coupled with a heart-breaking performance from star Michael Fassbender makes Shame far more than a PSA or a righteous condemnation. McQueen and Fassbender make Shame a devastating powerhouse.

Brandon (Fassbender) is a sex addict who has closed off his life from any emotional contact. He wakes up naked and strolls around his apartment because there’s no one to cover up for, no one to impress. He feeds his sex addiction with hookers, random pick-ups, masturbating in the restroom at work, a steady stream of porn, and hides it all under a cool, calm veneer. His tranquil downward slide is accelerated by the arrival of his ne’er-do-well sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan). Sissy is Brendan’s inverse. She’s overly emotional, feels everything deeply, and voices her need for comfort. They’re equally messed up, share the same loneliness, but while Sissy has no problem crying for help, Fassbender runs away from any intimacy, especially from his only family and the one woman he’ll never want to sleep with. As Shame unfolds, Brandon’s failed attempts to connect with other people only send him deeper into his own pain and anguish.

Coupled with his debut film Hunger, McQueen demonstrates that he may be one of the smartest directors working today. He once again takes advantage of long, uninterrupted takes that provide his actors with the room to give full, rich performances, but the direction is never stage-y. McQueen always frames his shot perfectly for maximum effect. I was taken in by the subtle power of how the frame almost always keeping Brandon to the far right of the screen. This oft-repeated shot keeps the character trapped, isolated, and unable to cross over and connect with anyone else. It’s a beautiful visual metaphor that never feels heavy-handed.

Just as he can create beautiful tracking shots and exquisite framing, McQueen also knows how to be unrelentingly harsh. There’s a horrific claustrophobia to Brandon’s world. He’s cruelly taunted every time he sees a woman that he can f&#! but never love. When McQueen opens the film showing Fassbender’s full-frontal nudity or a nude shot of Mulligan or any of the film’s countless sex acts, it’s not to titillate but to drive us into Brendan’s mindset. McQueen forces us to live in a world where sex is completely joyless. Any director who can take copious amounts of sex between attractive people and make it completely unappealing without being overtly disgusting is some kind of mad genius.

The other mad genius of Shame is Fassbender. He has already given three outstanding performances this year with Jane Eyre, X-Men: First Class, and A Dangerous Method, but Shame is his best. Fassbender brings ugliness to charm, anguish to intimacy, and a devastating range of emotions that show a man who clearly can’t even remember the last time he was happy and is clinging to what remains of his corroded soul. On the surface, Brandon shouldn’t be a pitiable character. He’s handsome, wealthy, and gets to have sex with beautiful women. But through Fassbender, we feel every moment of Brandon’s torment.

Fassbender and McQueen are the major stars of Shame but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mulligan. She has to stand as Brandon’s mirror, convey just as much suffering, and has less screen-time to do it. Mulligan rises to the occasion and her performance is even better than her acclaimed breakthrough role in An Education. Sissy is a singer and I don’t know if its Mulligan’s voice in the character’s performance of “New York, New York” but it’s a scene that will absolutely break your heart.

Shame is not an easy film. It’s not a film you “enjoy”. It puts you in a choke-hole and then forces you down further and further into the depths of one man’s pain. There’s no humor, no relief, and it’s not a film you want to watch again immediately after seeing it. But you respect every moment.

Rating: B+
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:37 am

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/motion-captured/posts/review-michael-fassbender-gives-amazing-performance-in-piercing-shame

Review: Michael Fassbender gives amazing performance in piercing 'Shame'

Carey Mulligan also lays herself bare in mesmerizing sex addiction film

By Drew McWeeny Monday, Sep 12, 2011 11:10 PM

Critic's Rating A
Readers' Rating A+

Review: Michael Fassbender gives amazing performance in piercing 'Shame'

Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender in one of the few light moments in Steve McQueen's powerful new 'Shame'
Credit: Fox Searchlight
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Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender are building a body of work together that is demanding, intellectually rigorous, and deeply felt, and if they continue, I feel like it will be a privilege to watch what they produce as collaborators. Their new film "Shame" is incredibly potent, a disturbing and visceral film about the ways we cope with the things that drive us, and the ways we destroy ourselves for who we are. It is one of the year's very best films, and a major artistic accomplishment.

Much of what drives the characters in the film is unspoken, and yet "Shame" manages to communicate volumes with its silence. McQueen is a master of subtext, and from the very beginning of the film, he's asking you to pay close attention, to connect the dots, and if you are willing to do that, it's a wrenching experience. I love that the film doesn't explain everything to you, because it's all in there. It is also a formally impressive piece of film craft, and I think McQueen is one of those guys we need to watch closely. He's building these films to endure, and they are rewarding because of just how much he's layered into them.

"Shame" tells the story of Brandon, an executive working in New York, and the way he uses sex as a non-stop anesthetic, a buffer that allows him to experience something like intimacy without ever having to reveal himself to anyone. He thinks about sex constantly, and he's perfectly happy to pay for it since that means no complications. Brandon seems to barely be a human being when we meet him in the film. He's a husk. He's one urge, repeated on a loop, with nothing else complicating it. Sure, he can flash a smile and make some small talk and pretend to be like everyone else, but he's not, and watching him move through his day, it's obvious he's leading a double life. At the office, he turns on his human face, smiles when he's supposed to, reacts to the proper emotional cues, and generally charms the people he deals with. After hours, it's like he sheds that skin completely, and he indulges in a routine of random encounters, always on the prowl. He looks at each woman he meets or sees as a possible hole to fill, and little else. He's almost scary in the empty way he regards the world.

There's one ritual we see him play out a few times that only gains meaning later in the film. There's a message on his voice mail that he plays each time he's finished having sex, each time he's shown the woman du jour out, and as he listens, he walks around the apartment naked, still soaked in the sweat from the latest session. The person on the machine doesn't identify herself, but it's apparent that her voice provokes a reaction from Brandon. Then one afternoon he comes home and someone's in his house, his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan). He's not happy to see her, either. Right away, her presence stirs something in him, something that he would rather keep buried. Her behavior is just as inappropriate, just as damaged as his, but different. When she acts out, it's not random at all. It's designed to hurt Brandon, to shake him up, and she gets the reaction she's looking for.

This isn't really a film about plot or about big story points. It's just an observational look into the lives of these two broken people, and no matter what, they just keep sinking deeper, little by little, unable to stop themselves. Both Fassbender and Mulligan reach deep for this one, and they give haunted performances. I found their work deeply affecting, and for Fassbender, this is further proof that he's one of the main guys working right now that you can turn to when you have a difficult piece of material that everyone's afraid of. Fassbender seems to know no fear at all, and he never makes the mistake of trying to smooth off Brandon's rough edges. He actually seems determined to see how far he can go while still keeping this guy recognizably human on some level.

The film takes a familiar downward spiral, and we've certainly seen the basic shape of this material in other addiction films, but what made it work for me is the way McQueen handles things, and the way Sean Bobbitt's photography and Harry Escott's score work as a sort of hypnosis. It's is mesmerizingly made, and McQueen keeps Brandon at an emotional reserve as long as he can so that when we finale see him break, it is shattering for us as well. The film may not flinch from the material it deals with, and there's a good chance they'll end up with an NC-17 rating as a result, but it is ultimately about the struggle we all face each day with emptiness and our own histories. We may not be driven as far as Brandon and Sissy, but the exaggeration only works to underscore just how important these questions are to us as human beings.

Fox Searchlight will release "Shame" in the US sometime before the end of the year.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:38 am

http://www.toronto.com/article/698209--he-finds-sex-but-can-t-get-no-satisfaction

Movies TIFF He finds sex but can't get no satisfaction
By Peter Howell Movie Critic
He finds sex but can't get no satisfaction

Sep 12, 2011

Shame has become one of the most talked-about films at TIFF due to its orgasm-addicted protagonist and X-rated content, but it would be a mistake to view it as simply a movie about sex.

British director Steve McQueen's commanding sophomore work, again with the dynamic Michael Fassbender, is more about how human connections are frayed by the always-on electronic connectivity of the modern world.

Fassbender's Brandon, a perpetually horny New Yorker, gets release through sexual activity — one-night stands and hookers, Internet porn or simply masturbating — but he doesn't get fulfilment of any kind.

He frequently gets off, but he never gets out of the prison of his own creation: a collapsing world of loneliness and self-recrimination, bereft of genuine human emotion.

In mental terms, it's more of a prison than the jail cell inhabited by Fassbender's IRA icon Bobby Sands in Hunger, the 2008 film that introduced him and McQueen to appreciative art-house audiences.

Shame will also be pitched at the art-house crowd, despite being picked up by Fox Searchlight, and in some respects that really is a shame.

Brandon's sex addiction may be extreme — although what we see on screen really isn't as graphic as advance word out of the Venice Film Festival suggested — but his lifestyle isn't.

He 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.

He's joined in this quest by Carey Mulligan, who plays Brandon's self-destructive sister Sissy. She's a lounge singer whose long, bluesy rendition of “New York, New York” slows the rush of Shame just long enough for a mind to remember and a tear to roll.

The role could be a game-changer for Mulligan, who was starting to become trapped by the hothouse flowers she's been playing since her breakout in An Education.

Along with Fassbender and McQueen, who keep going from strength to strength, she helps make Shame a potent statement on modern loss.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:39 am

http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/andrew_ohehir/2011/09/12/shame_toronto

Monday, Sep 12, 2011 20:30 ET
"Shame": Michael Fassbender's full-monty skin flick
Toronto: The Irish star strips down in "Shame," Steve McQueen's devastating sex-addiction drama
By Andrew O'Hehir

Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan in "Shame"

TORONTO -- If the first few days of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival have failed to produce any major hits to set the cognoscenti and Oscar-bloggers buzzing, it's got three things in spades: 1) terrific roles for women; 2) sexual frankness, often taken to an anti-erotic level, and 3) movies that get people talking. You get all three and more in English artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen's sex-addiction drama "Shame," which screened for the press here on Monday morning. If you don't know McQueen (other than as the namesake of a legendary '70s movie star), his debut feature was "Hunger," an extraordinary sound-and-vision experience that starred Michael Fassbender as IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, and that seemed more like a transmission from an alien planet than a historical drama.

Fassbender is a medium-big celebrity and cover boy in the wake of his "X-Men" role, while it's hard to imagine McQueen's films ever becoming multiplex fare. I hope fame doesn't split them up, because the Scorsese-De Niro relationship (or maybe even Dietrich-von Sternberg relationship) between the big, sexy Irishman and the garrulous black Londoner is clearly a powerful thing. "Shame" was acquired by Fox Searchlight just after its world premiere last week in Venice, and the studio's principal marketing question will be whether to release it unrated or slap an NC-17 on it. (In either case, many newspapers won't advertise it and many theaters won't show it.) As a Manhattan executive in some unnamed but horrible-seeming profession who measures his days and nights by anonymous sexual conquests -- not to mention dates with hookers, online chat sessions and regular old porn-fueled masturbation -- Fassbender is stripped naked in "Shame," in every sense of the word. (If you've heard Twitterific gossip about the full-monty nudity in this movie, it's all true.)

"Shame" hints at a conventional movie narrative a fair bit more than "Hunger" does, but it's first and foremost a visual and sonic symphony, and a Dante-esque journey through a New York nightworld where words are mostly useless or worse. (The credits say the movie was "based on a screenplay by" McQueen and Abi Morgan, which suggests that what we see on screen was largely improvised.) I would say we get 12 or so minutes into the film before anyone says anything, most of it a tense and powerful scene of Brandon (Fassbender) trying to pick up a married woman on the subway. Even then, it's only him asking a co-worker what happened to his porn-infested computer. (A man has to have his priorities straight.) Whatever garbage in their past has driven Brandon and Sissy (Carey Mulligan), his drunken, slutty and suicidal sister, onto their self-destructive paths, we never learn about it and don't need to. (Can we revise Tolstoy's famous maxim so it observes that all family dysfunction is roughly the same?)

A bottle-blond cabaret singer who shows up from L.A. to camp on Brandon's couch, Sissy somehow catalyzes a crisis in his life of unrepentant, beyond-compulsive horndoggery. Again, we don't exactly know how, and I would argue we don't need to; perhaps because of his career working in largely or entirely nonverbal media, McQueen feels no urge to overexplain. Sissy sings a killer cool-jazz rendition of "New York, New York" that reduces Brandon to tears, and then goes home with his married boss, who's way more of a loser than Brandon is. Brandon tries to go cold turkey, stuffing all his porn -- and even his laptop -- into trash bags and going on an actual date with an attractive woman from work who actually seems to like him. But he can't even fake an interest in the normal rituals of courtship. When his date (the African-American actress Nicole Beharie) asks him about his longest relationship, he says it lasted four months, but we suspect it was more like four hours, or $400.

I shouldn't delve too much further into a film that probably won't hit theaters until the Christmas season -- and what a Jingle Bells it will be. Fassbender and Mulligan both give massive, irresistible performances (the former won the acting prize in Venice) as people drowning in a hostile sea of commodified sexuality and self-hatred. (For all the nakedness and all the screwing, if you go to "Shame" hoping for a prurient spectacle you'll be disappointed.) McQueen combines '80s disco-pop and 19th-century Romantic music brilliantly, in one of the best soundtracks of the year, and his cinematographer, Sean Bobbitt, uses the antiseptic interiors of contemporary Manhattan as no one has since Mary Harron's "American Psycho." "Shame" isn't an easy film to sit through, to describe or to figure out, but it's riveting, spectacular, passionate cinema.
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:40 am

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/12/idUS262967120420110912

By Sharon Waxman at TheWrap

Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:44pm EDT

The buzz in Toronto has been intense around “Shame,” an NC-17 movie by British director Steve McQueen that takes a piercing, pitiless look at the culture of sexual excess in Western society.

The buzz has been partly because Michael Fassbender just won best actor at the Venice Film Festival for his portrayal of a man in the grip of sexual addiction. But also because Fox Searchlight just acquired the movie and has decided to release the movie as is, x-rating and all.

At a screening on Sunday at the Princess Wales theater, the room was packed and tickets impossible to come by. Film critics from Elvis Mitchell to Lou Lumenick crowded in, as did actor James Franco, director Ivan Reitman and motion picture academy co-president Dawn Hudson.

Everyone (including me) wanted to see what the NC-17 was all about.

And it’s a tough sit. The movie is not sexual, per se, though there is a fair amount of screwing up against plate glass windows in Manhattan skyscrapers. (And in broad daylight!)

The sexiest scenes are fully clothed, of Fassbender staring down a woman in the New York subway, nearly bringing her to orgasm with the unmistakeable message in his eyes.

But the actual scenes of intercourse are cold and soulless, which is McQueen’s point. Fassbender is a gorgeous, sculpted man with hollow nothing on the inside. He cannot connect to anything in his life - not a beautiful woman on a date, not his troubled sister Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan, not his friends from work.

All he knows how to do is seek relief in sexual activity – on the Internet mostly, but also with hookers and eventually with absolutely anyone and anything.

There is frontal nudity of every kind (his and hers), but it is not so impactful. What is impactful is Fassbender finally stripped to his core, crumpled in the rain on a black Manhattan street. Alone, and empty.

Canvassing people after the film, I found a lot of men who found the film very difficult to watch. The conensus seemed to be that the film exposed too fully male obsession. Some women I talked to had philosophical objections though they didn’t find it as discomfiting as men.

McQueen, a big, burly Brit, was visibly nervous at the q and a after the film.

“I wanted to make a love story and put down the gun,” he said to a question about why he made the film. “There’s so much porn on the Internet. It’s the whole idea of how accessible sexual images are – two clicks and you’re in – and it (the movie) just snowballed from there.”

He added: “I wanted the character to be in a place of excess, and access.”

Fassbender, who was also at the screening, said he came to understand that sexual addiction is very real. “The mental health board does not classify it as an illness .But for me, you realize it’s a pattern and you can’t stop. Your work is affected, your relationships are affected.”

As for the nudity, which he displays apparently effortlessly, was “embarrassing, really,” he said. “But I didn’t want to let Steve down. At the beginning you feel self-conscious, but at the end I was running around the apartment naked.”
Related Articles: In Toronto, the Power Center Has Moved to the Light Box -- and the Ritz TIFF, Day 4: Memories, Deceit and Breasts
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Re: Shame previews

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:45 am

http://www.indiewire.com/article/2011/09/12/toronto_review_steve_mcqueens_shame_is_all_about_michael_fassbender

TORONTO REVIEW | Steve McQueen’s “Shame” Is All About Michael Fassbender
by Eric Kohn (September 12, 2011)
TORONTO REVIEW | Steve McQueen’s “Shame” Is All About Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender in "Shame." Fox Searchlight.

In Steve McQueen’s “Hunger,” Michael Fassbender played an Irish Republican prisoner who demonstrated commitment to his cause by starving himself. As Brandon, the affluent and ceaselessly horny New Yorker in McQueen’s “Shame,” Fassbender has no such intense convictions. While “Hunger” contained an extensive monologue explaining the character’s behavior, “Shame” leaves much of Brandon open for interpretation. As a result, Fassbender’s revealing and compelling performance doesn’t just dominate “Shame;” he defines it.

McQueen’s visual attentiveness establishes Brandon with incredible understatement, introducing his dual lives with a fascinating collage of small moments. He grits his teeth through a boring office routine, then drifts through a seedy nightlife filled with sexual encounters by every means at his disposal. He sports a suave exterior, while fixed in a hellacious cycle of working, screwing and enduring private anguish.

McQueen breaches the rhythms of Brandon’s life with the unannounced arrival of his nomadic sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), crowding the bubble of his existence and threatening to make it burst. After she sleeps with Brandon’s married boss, he begins to resent her careless behavior, possibly because it reminds him of his own. But that question hangs without a precise answer. McQueen’s approach leaves much to the imagination.

Hyped like crazy and touted as a bonafide festival hit, “Shame” faces massive expectations it can’t possibly fulfill. On the surface it aspires to be a dark psychological thriller; in truth, it’s a far more humble and meditative work littered with flashes of brilliance but lacking a coherent whole. Mulligan’s club performance of a slow jazz rendition of “New York, New York,” matched with a tearful cutaway to Fassbender’s expressive face, marks a standout moment (unlike, say, the half-dozen sex scenes, which mostly blur together).

Despite his frenetic behavior, Brandon is a sympathetic creation: He’s divided against his bedroom antics, but incapable of seeking a solution. Because the cause of his addiction is never revealed, “Shame” focuses on small moments rather than setting up a string of clues. Evidence of Brandon’s ailment exists in wordless actions, passing glances and straight-faced bedroom demeanor that establishes a constant state of dread. Fassbender’s admirably raw performance, which puts his full body on display, transcends everything around it.

The movie’s first shot finds the actor lying in bed and listlessly gazing at the ceiling as a ticking clock plays on the soundtrack. The audio cue suggests time is running out, but after the first act McQueen abandons that idea in favor of redundancy. Brandon’s world comes to life, but never goes anywhere. Unwilling to diagnose his problem, he becomes his own worst enemy and projects his troubles onto everyone else. “Actions count, not words,” he advises his sister, a statement that McQueen clearly takes as gospel.

criticWIRE grade: B+

HOW WILL IT PLAY? Purchased by Fox Searchlight ahead of its Toronto International Film Festival screening, “Shame” will encounter issues with its graphic content when it goes in front of the MPAA; however, strong reviews and continuing success on the festival circuit should propel it to major arthouse success that should bring it into awards season in a healthy fashion.
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