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Shame reviews 2

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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:22 pm

veneerofvanity:
Watched Yesterday

image

I have been waiting to watch this ever since I heard about it, especially that Fassbender would be the one playing Brandon. Finals week kept pushing me to postpone going to see it, but finally I did!

Okayyy so let’s see.. I was prepared for the nudity and sex since it’s rated NC-17, so that was no surprise. Just getting that out of the way.

I really enjoyed this movie except (of course theres a but) I was upset that the audience never finds out why exactly Brandon and his sister are the way they are. Yes at one point Sissy says that they came from a screwed up home, but you never find out anything else! And that was what I was waiting for the entire time! I kept thinking okay it’s coming up, it has to be. Eventually I felt like the movie was going into that direction and well it never really did, so that’s why I was disappointed.

Overall the portrayal of this Brandon character and the monster he faces within himself was so tragic and you felt so bad for him, at least me. I can’t imagine how much hate he felt for himself, or how disgusted and dirty he felt about his behavior and needs.

I have to say the scene that most stood out to me, was when hes outside of the gay club, I think it was named Quo, and when he enters it. I won’t give away any spoilers, but that whole scene and the one before it, how he is hiding out in the dark streets of New York City, searching for that fix.

It’s funny how most people if they ever ran into a guy like that, especially a woman, and he acted the way he did with that young girl in the bar, a woman would slap him and call him a pervert and be completely repulsed by him, but watching this movie you learn about him and you just feel such pity for him.

The movie ends with Brandon sitting on the train and seeing the same woman he previous had seen. This time around she seems more confident and likely to give in to a sexual encounter with him. Brandon watches her with the same exact stare he had when he first met her. She gets up and just as she exits the train the movie stops. The audience now has no idea as to whether he left the train to follow her, or if he’s changed. DAMN THEM! Personally, I’d like to think he didn’t get off the train, but I won’t lie I think sooner or later he would bounce back to his old ways and probably hate himself more.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:24 pm

harrygoldfarb:

Shame

Director: Steve McQueen

Actors: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan

What a helluva good film! A very smart and hard-hitting film.

Let’s start with my favorite thing about this film: the cinematography. Those high-angle shots show Brandon absolutely dominated and crushed by his addiction. His sex addiction controls him. He’s enslaved to sex. Then there are those really close, hand held shots during the sex-scenes with prostitutes. These shots establish a disturbing intimacy that we don’t want but we’re forced to watch it - just like Brandon is “ordered” by his addiction to do so.

Now let’s stop talking all analytically and get real. Many of these shots had me spellbinded. The color pallet was spectacularly well chosen. A cold white bathroom covered in a bright red blood. Nauseating green and dark colors during some night scenes. Then these really paradoxical warm colors during some sex scenes (again, highliting my previous point). These shots established contrasts and a variety in the film that amazed me. It’s as if your seeing a succession of painted masterpieces; all different but at the same time connected.

Steve McQueen handles the camera like no other. He varies between handheld, travelling and stable shots. We’re up-close and intimate with the characters one second and the next we’re distant and disconnected from them; we’re never able to get into Brandon’s mind but at the same time we feel a certain connection with him.

Finally the performances. f#%@#&! hell those performances! Michael Fassebender is amazing. First of all consider how difficult it must be to get naked in front of 20 people (or more) and a camera and perform. Then look at his explosive performance. He’s perfect. He seems fragile yet strong. He’s aggressive and suave at the same time. He is able to portray a intricate character who jumps from one emotion to another. Then Carey Mulligan is just down right mind bending. She’s so lively yet so fragile. She had me enthralled when she sung, even though the song seemed to last forever.

The acting was also incredibely “organic”. Nothing seem forced. Nothing seemed dramatic. It was as if these people were real. At times it felt almost like a documentary with REAL people and not just imagined characters. The most mundane discussions took life on screen. The most tragic scenes seemed real; it didn’t feel like a film, it didn’t feel scripted.

It felt real.

And that’s maybe what makes this film so disturbing yet so enchanting at the same time. It may leave you shaken up. But it will also leave you delighted and spellbound.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:27 pm

andythemumbler:
Shame (2011)

image

We’re not bad people…we just come from a bad place…”

Director: Steve McQueen
Writer: Steve McQueen, Abby Morgan
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan
Runtime: 101min
Release Date: 13 January in Cinemas

Hunger, the feature debut of British visual-artist Steve McQueen, won him numerous impressive accolades including the coveted Caméra d’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. With such a bold, impressive debut, a harrowing depiction of the 1981 Irish hunger strike, McQueen’s follow-up was always going to be a highly anticipated endeavour. Reuniting with actor Michael Fassbender who gave a committed performance as the tragic Bobby Sands, Shame examines the existence of a sex addict living in New York City…

Read the full review @ Rhythm Circus

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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:27 pm

quatretrois:
Shame : Contes moraux des milles et une nuits

Steve McQueen, la plus récente coqueluche du cinéma d’auteur anglais qu’on avait remarqué avec Hunger en 2008, récidive à nouveau avec un sujet sulfureux, cette fois-ci la dépendance maladive au sexe, l’esthétique toujours réglée comme une horloge suisse, avec un Michael Fassbender encore fascinant et une Carey Mulligan qui se dévoile encore comme l’une des plus intéressantes actrices de sa génération.

Brandon (Fassbender) est le playboy par excellence : dans la mi-trentaine, beau comme un Dieu grec, un travail bien payé, une nouvelle conquête pratiquement chaque soir. Nous est présenté d’emblée son appartement décoré de façon minimaliste, préfigurant un vide intérieur, celui de ne vivre qu’en fonction de la prochaine baise, le reste du temps faire le poireau en se l’astiquant furieusement dans le lit, la douche, à la table de la cuisine, au travail, dans les toilettes. La dépendance pourrait être n’importe laquelle, la drogue, l’alcool, le jeu, peu importe. Déjà le premier plan du film montre Brandon couché sur son lit, le regard vide, l’air mort, miroir troublant de la finale d’Hunger, où nous assistions aux derniers moments de Bobby Sands

Brandon est un maladif du cul, mais rien ne vient vraiment gêner sa routine jusqu’à ce que sa sœur autodestructrice Sissy (Mulligan) vienne habiter chez lui pour un temps. Quelque part son antithèse, elle se lance corps et âme dans chacune de ses relations. D’un agacement initial, Brandon se convaincra qu’elle l’empêche carrément de respirer et de vivre sa vie comme bon lui semble. Après une tentative avortée de « vraie » relation avec une collègue (l’amour et le sexe sont incompatibles pour lui), Brandon sombrera dans une déchéance dont il comprendra que trop tard les funestes répercussions.

Pour un film politique, selon les dires de McQueen, la charge est claire, en voyant dans la maladie de Brandon les symptômes d’une perte de sens générée par l’opulence moderne, mais du reste, elle est diffuse, refusant d’admettre la maladie et la prédisposition pathologique du personnage. Cet angle n’est jamais abordé, ce qui complique l’empathie pour Brandon. Il est difficile de comprendre comment ce dernier perçoit son problème, est-ce simplement de la honte, de la tristesse, de la frustration, de l’orgueil? Lorsque vient le temps d’expliquer sa vision des choses, il se présente par contre comme un lucide, avance qu’au moins lui, il est franc et clair dans ses rapports avec les autres.

Malgré la précision parfaite dans la mise en scène de McQueen, il est extrêmement difficile d’accepter l’une des thèses du film – Brandon ne peut s’acquitter de ses responsabilités envers sa sœur Sissy en continuant sa vie de débauché – sans sourciller. Affreuse idée, à l’opposée d’Antichrist, où le coït était le point de départ d’un questionnement sérieux sur le plaisir et la morale, que le cinéaste avance pour clore son film, au lieu de l’utiliser comme point de départ. Cette honte, derrière un film réalisé d’une main de maître, dégage pourtant de vieux relent de catholic guilt à la mords-moi-le-noeud, et établit McQueen comme l’un des cinéastes les plus moralistes de sa génération.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:28 pm

http://www.rhythmcircus.co.uk/film/shame/

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Shame
December 15th, 2011

Hunger, the feature debut of British visual-artist Steve McQueen, won him numerous impressive accolades including the coveted Caméra d’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. With such a bold, impressive debut, a harrowing depiction of the 1981 Irish hunger strike, McQueen’s follow-up was always going to be a highly anticipated endeavour. Reuniting with actor Michael Fassbender, who gave a committed performance as the tragic Bobby Sands, Shame examines the existence of a sex addict living in New York City.

Shame is, in many ways, more accessible than Hunger, a film which culminated in the prolonged starvation and death of Bobby Sands. It is still affronting and contentious, but in terms of dramatic structure and character arcs, it adheres to more recognisable, conventional methods. We are introduced to Brandon Sullivan (Fassbender) through a montage which illustrates his active, yet emotionally devoid sex life. He awakens from his bed numerous times next to different women and carries out his routine whilst his phone rings and his depressive sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) leaves messages, pleading for him to answer. These instances are intercut with a subway journey in which he silently flirts with an attractive young blonde who eventually flashes a wedding ring and evades him at a station. The long montage, set to a wonderful melancholy score by Harry Escott, encapsulates the tone of the film which unearths the misery which bubbles under the surface of a visibly fine existence. The routine is shattered when Sissy arrives at his apartment unannounced with nowhere else to go, an act which forces both characters to consider the tragic way they in which they live their lives.

Like Hunger, the film has a fascination with the uses and abuses of the human body and the physical and emotional ramifications that can come from such abuse. Furthermore, as is more apparent in this second feature, McQueen’s camera is most comfortable when dwelling on the mundane and the quotidian, teasing out the tragedy from what on the surface could be a fine existence. Having trained and practiced as a visual-artist, he has a pronounced talent for framing and composition and Shame is a beautifully composed film. Often choosing to photograph objects which are seemingly abstract in terms of the narrative, the spectator is frequently invited to draw their own conclusions about what they are being shown. This aspect of the filmmaking is extremely attractive in its un-patronising approach and is also reflected in the way the narrative is constructed. The characters’ motivations and histories are never spoon-fed to the audience, making the dramatic proceedings of all the more emotionally affecting, gripping and, at times, extremely disturbing.

McQueen’s penchant for long, deliberate shots teases incredibly raw performances from his principal actors. There are numerous instances in Shame in which the camera gets very close for long periods of time, championing even the seventeen minute one-shot shot scene from Hunger in terms of the virtuosity and candidness of the performances. It is clear that Fassbender, who recently starred as Magneto in Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men First Class, intends to eschew the status of ‘film star’ in favour of maintaining his integrity as an actor. His approach to the role of Brandon is daring, calling for him to explore dark areas of his psyche and he inhabits the role to a frightening degree. Furthermore, utilising the violent energy of her co-star, Mulligan gives one of the most effective and heartbreaking performances of her career. The pair share a curious chemistry, their behaviour raising disturbing questions about their ambiguous family history and childhood. “We’re not bad people,” Sissy tearfully tells her brother, “we just come from a bad place.”

Recalling the sentiment of Bret Easton Ellis’ seminal modern novel American Psycho, Shame comments on the existence of the modern man in the modern world. Brandon is presented as being the product of a particular kind of upbringing and lifestyle and his plight is worryingly relatable. We live in a world where anything can be sold and bought and used, including sexual gratification. The act of buying and consuming such things has left him confused by the prospect of emotional attachment once sex becomes a possibility. Whilst incredibly beautiful and moving, the film is not flawless and hits some snags through certain characterisations (Brandon’s philandering boss in particular is too one-note) and a sometimes incoherent morality, its stance on homosexuality for example is rather troubling. Nevertheless, the plight that it documents is more troubling, astute and moving than many films that attempt to deal with similarly difficult subject matter. A beautifully well observed, harrowing experience.

Words > Andy Wilson
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:40 pm

pulp-diction:

With an NC-17 usually you’re just thinking about when you’re gonna see the genitalia. Director Steve McQueen gets this out of the way within the first moments of the film, so from there on out you’re desensitized to the nudity in order to delve into McQueen’s gritty character study.

Shame depicts the life of Brandon (Michael Fassbender), a 30 something sex addict, whose wayward younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves in with him, catalyzing his descent into his spiral of shame (hey that’s the name of the movie).

First off; raw performances given by the entire ensemble; particularly by Fassbender and Mulligan. The pair does an expert job conveying a brother and sister duo whose lives have always been a bit at odds. Something about Fassbender’s performance manages to capture the emptiness of his life trapped in his addiction. It would’ve been easy to exploit a NC-17 rating and sex addiction to parade around lots of nude women, but far more than the women are exploited for their nudity, Fassbender is exploited for his increasingly humiliating and pitiful behavior. Shame lacks the eroticism, and is racked with pity and self-loathing. Mulligan was hauntingly beautiful in her performance (don’t mind our bias). She portrays a wistful vagabond, desperately trying to connect with her brother. Her rendition of “New York New York” moved Francis to the brink of tears, just as it did Fassbender’s character.

McQueen’s (not of Great Escape, Cars, or fashion fame) direction is top notch. He had precise camera placement and chiaroscuro* that would make Orson Welles have a cinematic boner. He use of extended reaction shots allowed him to fully convey the misery and emptiness of Brandon’s life. His actions are devoid of meaning or sincerity, he simply goes through the motions of a yuppie life.

The score however, was alright; the piano accompaniment really hit strong notes through its simplicity contrasting with the complex scenes, but the rest of the score seemed over exaggerated.

All in all, this movie is a wonderfully gritty portrait that warns us of the dangers of trading human contact for the decadence of a vice. Plus, Michael Fassbender’s p****. A lot. Go see it.

*In case you’re not a film douche like Francis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiaroscuro Learn something!
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:54 pm

soundonsight:

‘Shame’ – quite simply the best film of 2011

Shame - REVIEW

Written by Abi Morgan and Steve McQueen

Directed by Steve McQueen

2011, UK

Shame, Steve McQueen’s sophomore film and second collaboration with Michael Fassbender, is a compelling and timely examination of sexual compulsion in the modern world. Fassbender is Brandon, a successful thirty-something Irish immigrant living in Manhattan, whose sexual addiction borders on self-destruction. Brandon lives comfortably from a materialistic point of view, but ultimately leads a repetitive, empty life, void of any real emotional connections. His daily rituals revolve around his search for a sexual outlet. He surfs the web for porn day and night, at home or at work. He seduces women in bars, on the subway and on the street, and if he can’t find someone, he goes home to interact with the next best thing; live webcam girls who perform to his every desire. Whatever the release is, it’s Brandon’s way of coping, but we are never quite sure what with. After his younger sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) crashes back into his life, Brandon finds himself faced with his addiction and his world slowly spirals out of control. ... click here for the full review
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:55 pm

http://www.soundonsight.org/tiff-2011-shame-quite-simply-the-best-film-of-2011/

TIFF 2011: ‘Shame’ – quite simply the best film of 2011
Published on September 17, 2011 by Ricky in Reviews, Toronto International Film Festival
Tagged: Shame, Steve McQeen, TIFF, TIFF 2011

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Shame

Written by Abi Morgan and Steve McQueen

Directed by Steve McQueen

2011, UK

Shame, Steve McQueen’s sophomore film and second collaboration with Michael Fassbender, is a compelling and timely examination of sexual compulsion in the modern world. Fassbender is Brandon, a successful thirty-something Irish immigrant living in Manhattan, whose sexual addiction borders on self-destruction. Brandon lives comfortably from a materialistic point of view, but ultimately leads a repetitive, empty life, void of any real emotional connections. His daily rituals revolve around his search for a sexual outlet. He surfs the web for porn day and night, at home or at work. He seduces women in bars, on the subway and on the street, and if he can’t find someone, he goes home to interact with the next best thing; live webcam girls who perform to his every desire. Whatever the release is, it’s Brandon’s way of coping, but we are never quite sure what with. After his younger sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) crashes back into his life, Brandon finds himself faced with his addiction and his world slowly spirals out of control.

Few filmmakers have probed so deeply into the soul-crushing depths of sexual addiction as bravely as McQueen does here. Shame is a remarkable snapshot of addiction and self-harm, but McQueen and co-screenwriter Abi Morgan stop short of preachiness. Shame does not judge nor does it expect anyone else to. McQueen offers no solutions, nor provides any clear reason why. For some sex addicts, behaviour does not progress beyond compulsive masturbation or the extensive viewing of x-rated films. For others, addiction can involve illegal activities such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, obscene phone calls, and even child molestation or rape. In the world of cinema, the aforementioned trespasses have all been incorporated time and time again into narratives of addiction. What makes Shame so unique is that our protagonist is a healthy, dark, handsome brute of a man, who could easily settle with just about any woman that grabs his interest. This isn’t Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Allen from Happiness, an overweight, socially awkward virgin who’s obsessed over something he can’t have. Nor is Brandon an equivalent to Richard Gere’s Julian from American Gigolo, who primarily does what he does for money. Instead, Brandon is your everyday successful businessman, who like anyone else can suffer from the same addictions as those less fortunate. Shame leaves much of Brandon open for interpretation. We are offered small hints of an underlying struggle from events in his past that might explain his behaviour, but it’s left deliberately unclear.

Its interesting to note how Brandon and Sissy, siblings with a shared past, cope differently. Sissy is openly emotional, overly dramatic and dependent on Brandon, while he is the complete opposite: reserved, successful, independent, unaffectionate and secretive. Her presence threatens to unearth whatever Brandon buries deep down inside, breaking him wide open and forcing him to face his problem head-on. McQueen directs the first act with repetition and ritual, much like Brandon’s everyday routine, but with Sissy’s arrival Shame pushes past mere observation. Most filmmakers will fill the need to provide context for a characters actions, perhaps include flashbacks, or blocks of exposition. Some filmmakers feel the need to answer every question an audience member might have. McQeen isn’t interested in providing a study of sexual aberration brought on by a troubled upbringing. We never find out what the past was, but Sissy does reveal something towards the end when she says, “We’re not bad people, we just come from a bad place.” Short and sweet but to the point, this heartbreaking revelation will hover in your psyche long after the credits role.

The two leads are pitch-perfect as the troubled siblings, matching McQueen’s directorial style through their performances. Fassbender owes a great deal of his notoriety to his part in Hunger as the self-starved IRA member Bobby Sands. In Shame he surpasses that achievement, and in contrast here he is acting out a figurative form of self-humiliation and imprisonment. Fassbender owns the screen fully unselfconscious about the full-frontal nudity and graphic (but simulated) sex required of him. With very little dialogue, the actor peels back layers of self-loathing, dominates every scene and gives his most compelling performance yet.

Despite the technical wonder of the brilliant camera work in Hunger, the film’s stand out moment was a seventeen minute long static shot. With Shame, McQueen repeats the trick somewhat. Carey Mulligan’s musical turn, a slow jazz rendition of “New York, New York,” filmed almost entirely in a single closeup, is the brightest and most exquisite moment of this very dark pic. In those few minutes, the two actors are able to manifest their lifelong relationship without the use of any dialogue.

While McQueen’s background as a visual artist might seem to have a heavy influence on his overall aesthetic, Shame feels less rooted in the language of the art installation than in his previous film. Of course much like Hunger, there are impressive, long tracking shots and tableau-like images. McQueen’s control of sight and sound solidifies him as the next great director. Meanwhile, cinematographer Sean Bobbitt and editor Joe Walker, who also worked on Hunger, are back, and in top form. Bobbitt shoots with cold compositions symbolic of both the New York setting and Brandon’s loneliness. Walker allows the film to breathe naturally in keeping with its overwhelming tone, and composer Harry Escott’s cello-driven score sets the pace.

About the sex: Given the boldness of the film’s blunt sexuality and graphic nudity, it’s important to note that the sexiest scene and perhaps the only truly erotic moment of the entire film is actually one without sex. Brandon catches the eye of an an attractive blonde on the subway. The two go back and forth with brief glances until finally focusing dead into each other’s eyes. It’s a classic pick-up situation, which happens more often than one thinks. But apart from that, Shame contains woebegone sexual activity, debauched three-ways and darkroom fellatio, all of which is rather depressing, much like Brandon himself.

Shame is many things: daunting, powerful, disturbing, provocative, enthralling and visually arresting. It is also quite simply the best film of 2011. Unwilling to diagnose his problem, Brandon finds his way yet again on the subway with an attractive woman. “Actions count, not words,” as he advises his sister earlier on.

Ricky D
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:57 pm

http://uinterview.com/reviews/movies/shame

Shame

By A Grinshpan

12/12/2011
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The film Shame opens with the main character David (Michael Fassbender) lying naked in bed, and that is where his mind always is – on sex. David is a sex addict, which is where the title of the film comes into it. The framing of the film is a hindrance, with David often not in the centre of the frame, but often to the side, and his body cut off by the framing. David himself is off. This particular technique shows us we don't see all of David, and David doesn't see all of himself. There are parts missing – we don't fully know why he does what he does, nor does he.

At the beginning of the film, David is reminiscent of American Psycho's Patrick Bateman in that he lives alone in sterile apartment in a big city (both New York). They're both incredibly good-looking, with amazing physiques that they take care of. And they live insular lives – no one really knows them. Though David is not a psychotic killer. David has a routine – yeah it's a depressing and empty routine, but it's a routine, nonetheless. He wakes up, watches porn, jerks off in the shower, goes to work, maybe he will go out with his boss – who's a lame, overeager pick-up-artist, desperate to score, even though he's married with children. He may meet a girl at the bar and f&#! her in an alley, or he might go home and order a prostitute.

His sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), has been leaving him incessant voicemails on his machine, all of which he ignores. She shows up, unexpectedly needing a place to crash, and infiltrates his life, or at least tries to. What the picture needs at this point is lightness to be brought in with his kooky, silly sister, but she's got problems of her own, and seems unable to have a healthy relationship either. We hear Sissy crying on the phone, making unhealthy promises to some jerk, before sleeping with David's married boss. She's also a cutter. The only clue we have as to why these two have problems with intimacy is a vague message Sissy leaves on David's machine late into the movie, saying they're not bad people, they just came from a bad place. She wants a closer relationship with her cold, distant brother, but he's emotionally closed off and doesn't care to be closer to her.

David is very attracted to a female co-worker and they go on a dinner date – a scene that is comically uncomfortable. The waiter at the upscale restaurant makes dish and wine suggestions, and it's bizarre for David, because he just doesn't care. He gets what his date's having, he takes the recommended house wine, yeah, sure, whatever. He has a conversation with his date and reveals he hasn't had a relationship that has lasted longer than four months. He also doesn't see the point to marriage. All tidbits a date loves to hear. So she asks him why he is there (on the date)? He responds by saying that apparently the food there is great.

David does want something real with this co-worker, though. But when they are about to get physical together and have sex, he can't do it. He can't be physically close with someone he has a connection with. After she leaves, he calls over a prostitute. During a night where David goes on a crazy sex bender, he is having a threesome with two women, the camera zooms in on his face, and we can see the emotional agony he is in – he doesn't want to be doing what he's doing – but he's compelled.

There isn't much dialogue in the film, and that is the film's downfall, because whatever message the filmmaker was trying to convey was hard to decipher; the delivery was much too subtle.

The close of the picture mirrors its opening in that David is on the subway and he sees an attractive girl, who he makes eyes at. She responds, smiling at him; she's obviously attracted. He wants a random tryst with this gorgeous stranger. Then we see she is wearing a wedding ring. The first time he saw her, he followed her off the subway but lost her in the crowd. This time, he sees her, and we're left wondering if he will try again to f&#! a random stranger, or has he learned something and changed?
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:58 pm

http://www.racialicious.com/2011/12/14/shame-the-interracial-relationship-the-casting-the-homophobia/

Shame: The Interracial Relationship, The Casting, The Homophobia
By Andrea On December 14, 2011 · 32 Comments and 15 Reactions
Cosign3 Provocative+ Problematic+ THIS!+

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

I saw Shame a couple of weeks ago with my homie Sarah Jaffe…and, on the real, I wanted to check out the flick because I wanted to see Michael Fassbender’s full frontal nudity. (And, considering how quick the box-office attendant was asking for photo IDs for this NC-17 flick, I guess quite a few under-17 others were trying to see the younger Magneto’s full frontal nudity, too.)

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT after the jump.

Synopsis: Fassbender plays Brandon, a white, handsome, successful office-working something-or-other (the film never states what he does for a living or where he works) living the upscale–and rather white–NYC life. Brandon also has a sexual addiction, which McQueen frames as Brandon lacking any emotional connections and/or the ability to go about forming healthy ones–even with his own sister–in tandem with a series of sexual behaviors: Brandon inviting and paying female sex workers of various races and ethnicities; constantly masturbating (you first see him jerking off in his shower, and later he’s shown doing it in his office bathroom; and his sister catches him jerking off in a toilet); getting paranoid about the IT department talking about his hard drive, only to have his boss call him into the office about the porn found on it (though the boss blames Brandon’s intern for it, not Brandon); hooking up with a white woman at a bar that his married boss initially tried to pick up; his picking up another white woman at a random bar and, after some consensual fingering, puts his fingers under her white boyfriend’s nose to sniff (which leads to the boyfriend assaulting Brandon); after the assault, Brandon following a racially ambiguous male sex worker into the backroom of a gay bar, where he kisses the sex worker and gets a blowjob; participating in a threesome with two female sex workers, portrayed by white burlesquer DeeDee Luxe and Asian burlesque star Calamity Chang (both links NSFW).

When Brandon attempts to form a healthy romantic connection–after his sister busts him masturbating into the toilet–he throws out his massive porn collection and a couple of sex toys and approaches Marianne (American Violet‘s Nicole Beharie), who works at his office. She is one of the few Black people (let alone people of color) at the firm. They go on a date:

Then Brandon invites Marianne for an afternoon tryst at a hotel. Hepped up on a line of cocaine and the sheer excitement at this opportunity to prove he’s conquered his sexual addiction by himself, Marianne and he engage in some foreplay, only for Brandon not be able to get erect. Ashamed, he sends Marianne away and later has penetrative sex with a sex worker, a white woman, in the same room.

All of this is to give context to this radio interview excerpt between film critic Elvis Mitchell and McQueen. Towards the end of the interview, McQueen says this about casting Beharie as Brandon’s love interest (unfortunately, KCRW doesn’t have a full transcript of the interview):

Elvis Mitchell: I found interesting, too…there are women in the film and the way you sort of develop what the women do from Brandon. They really are fleshly in a way that he is not. I mean, they’re sort of in touch with their bodies in terms of living in the world in a way he is not: both his sister and the woman he courts at the office want to use their bodies for a different thing than he does.

Steve McQueen: …of course, Marianne–she, of course, is played by Nicole Beharie–I like Marianne. She’s sort of willing to try to make something out of something, which may not be a good thing to do. But she wants to take a chance.

EM: She’s also the grown-up in the movie. She represents looking for a future, which neither Brandon or Sissy are capable of doing. They’re both about the immediate. I felt it was interesting to make the one African American woman in the movie, the one person of color, [as] the person looking for a future rather than trying to find a momentary satisfaction. Even [Brandon's] boss is like that–a person who wants to be immediately gratified.

SM: That’s interesting. [Laughs] I mean, other people saying to me when I came to America and I wanted to cast [Beharie]. Because when I came to research the movie, of all the people but for this one guy–I think he was from somewhere in South America–were white who were dealing with sex addiction. I suppose it’s a different kind of situation, I’d imagine, where you’d find one kind of ethnicity. But I found it fascinating.

But when it came to the workplace it was as you see it. It was one Black person. It was like, “Wow, that’s kind of interesting.” And this girl could be Brandon’s girlfriend. But what was interesting was there was all kinds of objections about this, of saying, “Oh, that wouldn’t happen there. That wouldn’t exist.” I said, “What, I don’t exist?” It was a very odd thing, having these conversations about having a love interest that was a Black woman with Brandon. It was interesting, that. It was fascinating, that.

But then, what also fascinates me is you have a lot of white American filmmakers who never cast a Black person in their movies and they made quite a few movies. How can you avoid that? That’s kind of weird. It’s like walking around with blindfolds on. How can you make movies in this country–and consistently make movies–and not cast Black characters in the main leads? I mean, I made two movies–and they’re art films–and the feature film are 90 percent white and my art films are 90 percent Black. There’s no distinguishing the two; it’s just one thing–it’s not “art” or “film.” That’s how it is.

EM: I waited fifty years for someone to say that.

What Sarah and I chatted about over post-movie brunch is that we really appreciated McQueen’s decision to cast Beharie as Brandon’s love interest. As Mitchell observes, Marianne is an adult, a woman with her own relationship loose ends (she tells Brandon she’s separated, not divorced) and healthy sexual curiosity and appetite (she agrees to the tryst; she eagerly and sensuously kiss Brandon back as they’re hiding behind a patterned glass partition at the office). Brandon knows, regardless of his condition, he has to come correct with Marianne; his frozen face as he watches her through the window of the restaurant of their first date displays his terror. Even in the above clip, Marianne holds her own flirting with Brandon. More importantly, Marianne and Brandon are drawn to each other in the film because they’re interested in each other, not as a Very Special Episode of Interracial Dating in America. Unfortunately, their relationship is a very short one due to Brandon’s addiction — and you never see Marianne again after she leaves the hotel.

Yet, Sarah and I gave gasface to McQueen framing Brandon having sex with another man and a three-way to signify Brandon “hitting rock bottom.” Why, we rhetorically asked, does homosexuality and consensual multiple partners — neither of which are really respected in US society — have to be the film’s shorthand for “sexual depravity”? McQueen could have shown Brandon’s nadir when the boyfriend assaulted him. To show Brandon engaged with the partners as a sign his utter debasement smells of homophobia and anti-polyamory.

Is Shame worth seeing? If the frisson of finally seeing an NC-17 film (“Woohoo! Grown-ass flick!”) making it to your movie theater is worth the price of admission, then … well, maybe. But, like all frissons, it won’t last long. If you want to see an interracial couple that’s a couple and not a Big Social Statement a la Something New, then…well, maybe. The relationship is short-lived. But just to see Michael Fassbender’s p****? You’ll be wildly disappointed because you’re not going to see it for very long at all.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:58 pm

romocinema:
Shame



Le film aborde de manière très frontale la question d’une addiction sexuelle, celle de Brandon, trentenaire new-yorkais, vivant seul et travaillant beaucoup. Quand sa sœur Sissy arrive sans prévenir à New York et s’installe dans son appartement, Brandon aura de plus en plus de mal à dissimuler sa vraie vie…

Le réalisateur Steven Mc Queen a fait de nouveau appel à Michael Fassbender pour Shame après Hunger sorti en 2008.

Cette coopération peut être qualifiée de fructueuse car l’acteur a reçu le prix d’interprétation masculine de la Mostra de Venise pour son rôle de prisonnier du sexe.

On retient avant tout de ces deux heures un film très noir axé sur la solitude d’un homme qui n’arrive pas à lutter contre son addiction malgré le soutien de sa soeur.

Les scènes de sexe sont très crues et on y découvre, c’est le cas de le dire, un Michael Fassbender sous tous les angles. L’acteur n’y est pas pudique pour un sou!

Pour résumer, Shame est un film troublant, très axé sur la solitude, la détresse humaine et troublant à de nombreux égards. La performance de Michael Fassbender est à saluer mais je le recommande à un public plutôt averti.

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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:00 pm

everlastingfear:
Review: 'Shame'

I’ve decided to write my first movie review. I chose ‘Shame’ to begin with because with because it left such an impression on me. I felt like I needed to put my thoughts out there. They may not reflect what other people thought of the movie and I may not articulate my impressions and thoughts properly but I sure hope that some people will actually read my review and maybe give me their thoughts on the movie.

Even though, I’ve been a fan of Michael Fassbender for years now (since he starred in ‘Hex’) and was eager to see “Shame”, I didn’t know whether I would actually like the movie or not. I’ve got to say that I did. It was one such a hard movie to watch. It’s not the kind of movie one goes to see more than once at the theatre, but a must see movie, for sure. What I liked the most with the movie is that director Steve McQueen successfully managed to draw us into Brandon’s world and make us care for him.

http://everlastingfear.tumblr.com/post/14210855423/review-shame

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a sex addict whose world turns upside down when his sister Sissy (played by Carey Mulligan) comes to visit.

At the beginning we see Brandon’s daily life which revolves around sex then Sissy drops by unannounced and all his world comes crashing down. We see his world crumble around him. He tries to date a girl but he just can’t seem to make ‘it’ work and we see how hard it is for him. It’s so hard to see him go through this whole process. We feel for him. Then we see Brandon slowly go down a dark/dangerous path as he loses control of his addiction and almost loses everything, himself and his sister, Sissy.

As soon as Sissy appears on screen, I got the feeling that there something happened in Brandon’s childhood, something to do with the way he is now. Something in relation to Sissy.

I felt some kind of incestuous vibe between him and Sissy and I might be wrong about that. Somehow, I would have loved Steve McQueen to explore a little bit Brandon’s past.. Their whole relationship was a bit unorthodox, to say the least. I didn’t know at some points whether Brandon felt bad for being attracted to his sister or he regretted something that happened in their past, or if he just realized how much of a sex addict he is when she came around. I’m not sure about that, actually. I know that her arrival triggered something in him and made him want to change but I’m not sure what that was.

I liked the fact that Brandon tried so hard to be ‘normal’ and hated how he ended up in a downward spiral.. It’s as if, his sister’s arrival was his downfall, in a way.

At the end of the movie, we’re left where we started with Brandon in the subway with the same woman (ready to take the next step) and we’re left wondering, if Brandon has changed and won’t follow her for a quickie or if nothing has changed.

I’d like to think that Brandon will find some peace but I’m not quite sure.

All I have to say, is that, the movie didn’t leave me unaffected. I was left speechless at the end of the movie and I wasn’t the only one. The theatre was almost packed but everybody was silent and nobody left until the very last second, as if in a trance or something. Still immersed in the movie, like I was, I guess.

I’ve never felt like that before, I almost stoop up and applauded as if it was the end of a great play.

It was quite an experience. I kept thinking about the movie, the whole weekend. It’s a movie that really got to me and haunts me, till to this day.

I do believe that it is, mostly due to Michael Fassbender’s incredible ability to draw you in with a single look. His work in this movie exceeds whatever he did up until that day and that includes some impressive performances (Hunger..). He made me feel so much for Brandon. He made Brandon both strong, sad and vulnerable. He made me feel so much for this character. I truly think he outdid himself in this movie. I always thought that Michael Fassbender was immensely talened/amazing and fantastic and then some but with with this movie, he’s above and beyond all that. I have no words to describe how amazing he is.

I’d also like to mention the great work that director Steve McQueen, because, he really managed to take us on this difficult journey without falling into the traps of this kind of subject. With a movie about a sex addict, we could have gotten, some really gratuitous sex scenes and even though, there were sex scenes, I never found them to be gratuitous.

Ok, that’s it for my personal review. Let me know what you think of what you wrote. Does it make any kind of sense? And of course, let me know your thoughts on the movie?
1 month ago | Notes
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:01 pm

fortunesoflife:
WHAT a SHAME.

image

Rentré chez lui, l’homme pose un disque des Variations Goldberg sur la platine. Il allume son ordinateur portable et part à la recherche de sites pornographiques. Entre la beauté et l’abjection, il y a la honte (Shame). En vagues successives, ce mépris de soi-même déferle sur le protagoniste du deuxième film de Steve McQueen. Le corps admirable de Michael Fassbender, l’interprète du film, est à chaque fois laissé dans une posture de déploration - la tête entre les mains, le regard perdu sur un horizon new-yorkais.

Plasticien venu au cinéma avec Hunger qui, en 2008, mettait en scène l’agonie du républicain irlandais Bobby Sands (avec, déjà, Michael Fassbender), Steve McQueen réaffirme, par ce deuxième long métrage, sa maîtrise d’un art encore nouveau pour lui. Shame est bien “l’histoire d’addiction sexuelle” dont on avait entendu parler avant sa présentation à la Mostra de Venise, une étude clinique précise et sans pitié. C’est aussi une tragédie et une représentation stupéfiante de beauté de la vie misérable d’un privilégié, perdu dans la capitale du monde moderne, New York.

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) habite un appartement aux larges baies vitrées, avec vue sur la rivière, à une trentaine de pâtés de maisons de Wall Street. A part une collection de disques vinyle, rien dans l’ameublement et la décoration n’indique quoi que ce soit sur l’occupant. On le découvre nu, étendu sur des draps bleus, les yeux grands ouverts, comme mort. Tout de suite, Steve McQueen pose la question : peut-on appeler “vie” l’existence qu’il mène ?

Il n’écoute pas les messages qu’une femme malade de solitude a laissés sur son répondeur. Il faut attendre de longues séquences pour être sûr que Brandon est bien doué de parole. Seul, il se lève ; seul, il se donne du plaisir sous la douche. Il faut qu’il descende dans le métro et entame une parade érotique silencieuse avec une passagère (Lucy Walters) pour que sa physionomie s’anime un peu. La chorégraphie de cette scène est réglée avec une précision qui n’empêche pas les acteurs de faire leur travail. Tout au long du film, la construction des situations restera précise, intellectuellement fascinante (et le terme d’installation vient vite à l’esprit) ; et pourtant le souci d’incarnation des personnages, le respect pour le métier de comédien est toujours pris en compte.

Au travail (une activité mystérieuse, dont la conclusion quotidienne est une virée alcoolisée entre garçons), Brandon se voit dépossédé de son ordinateur pourri par des virus attrapés sur des sites pornographiques. Ça n’empêche pas son patron (James Badge Dale, presque caricatural en col blanc dominé par ses poussées de testostérone) d’être éperdu d’admiration pour les talents de séducteur de son collaborateur. Celui-ci lui souffle une conquête sous le nez, mais n’emmène pas la jeune femme plus loin qu’un local à poubelles, où ils consomment sur place.

Il faut l’irruption de Sissy (Carey Mulligan), la soeur de Brandon, pour mettre à bas cet ordre sinistre. De leur héritage commun (Sissy dit : “Nous ne sommes pas mauvais, nous venons d’un endroit mauvais”), elle a fait un mélodrame plutôt qu’un enfer glacial. Suicidaire, dépressive, Sissy renvoie son frère à toutes ses imperfections. Elle chante, et lorsqu’elle interprète New York, New York (une version ralentie à l’extrême, comme embrumée par des narcotiques), dans un club luxueux, des larmes coulent sur le visage de Brandon.

Comme Sissy s’est installée chez lui, il est pris d’une pulsion de pureté et se débarrasse d’un coup de toute la pornographie (images, magazines, ordinateur) que contenait un appartement finalement plus riche en objets personnels qu’on aurait pu le croire. Il tente ensuite de nouer une relation “normale” avec une collègue de bureau.

A chaque épisode, Steve McQueen force son personnage à se briser, que ce soit sur ce rêve de normalité impossible ou sur l’insatisfaction que laissent ses excursions dans les bas-fonds virtuels ou réels. Pour échapper à ce dilemme, Brandon court. Le travelling qui suit Michael Fassbender dans les rues de Manhattan, la nuit, atteint la perfection kinétique. Cette course (au rythme métronomique d’un prélude et d’une fugue de Bach) n’apporte qu’un bref répit, et le damné replonge dans son enfer.

Celui-ci ressemble à New York par son paysage. Mais les rues sont désertées par les piétons. La nuit, on ne voit que les phares des voitures ; dans la journée, les formes sont voilées par un brouillard hivernal. La lumière grise et bleue donne l’impression d’un aquarium pour poissons d’eaux froides. Steve McQueen n’est pas là pour observer de l’extérieur ces créatures captives. Il passe de l’autre côté de la vitre, et l’on suffoque avec elles.

Film britannique de Steve McQueen avec Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale. (1 h 39.)

Thomas Sotinel
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:01 pm

cece365:
The day after

Last night Lysianne and I saw Shame, a movie Annie told me about, she is a great fan of Steve Mc Queen’s first movie Hunger. It always takes a while for me to know whether I liked a movie or not. Usually a night will do. This morning I wasn’t so sure about my opinion.

As you may have understood from the numerous reviews in the press, Shame talks about a man who suffers from sex addiction. We are following this man in a cold New York, he is completely aware of his addiction and is driven by his sexual needs most of the time. Lots of nudity, yes. But now that I think about it, you find yourself confronted to way more than just a sex story.

It talks about common issues we all have to deal with in the weird, modern world that is ours. Loneliness, self-esteem problems, aimless living, difficult family relationships… they’re not necessarily directly shown, but they are definitely here… like some sorts of dark echoes. Scenes that may seem too long while watching are nothing but the reflection of the brutal, raw reality we are surrounded with.

The photo above is an extract from my favorite scene. I will not tell you too much, but honestly this scene made me want to start shooting films even more. To be able to bring together such great acting, perfect directing and photography all at once is pure talent.

Today I would say that Shame is a good, modern film. The best way to view this film is to go without any expectation. It’s just someome, showing you something. Enjoy.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:03 pm

cinemadiscipula:
SHAME (2011)

Seems like the people who dislike Shame are viscerally opposed to it, and I for one am confused. Then again, I’m biased. I’ve seen it three times, and it’s in the running for my favorite film of the year, along with The Tree of Life. As far as McQueen goes, I believe Shame is a more mature effort and a more accomplished film than his brilliant debut Hunger.

A few critics have complained that McQueen patronizes his audience with a morality tale about debauchery and indulgence. For some reason, they don’t grasp the concept of sex addiction, which isn’t about loving sex too much, in the same way that alcoholism isn’t really about loving alcohol too much. Anyone who believes Brandon is at any point “indulging” or “debauching” clearly hasn’t seen the film. Not really seen it. There’s no indulgence here. Brandon’s an addict. He has sex compulsively, not because he wants to. And if you don’t believe there’s a difference, you probably won’t like Shame.

What makes the film brilliant is precisely what some critics have complained about to the contrary: McQueen does everything but moralize. He doesn’t judge Brandon at all, and neither does Fassbender. As with Hunger, Shame’s story is exceptionally simple but filled with resonance and complexity (minor spoilers ahead, folks). Fassbender plays New York sex addict Brandon, an attractive man with a high-end job whose success has only served to make his addiction easier to feed, so that the need for sexual release governs practically his whole life. Sissy, Brandon’s sister, appears at his apartment in need of a place to crash for a few days and Brandon’s carefully composed addiction-feeding world begins to crumble. When Sissy discovers Brandon’s sexual dysfunction and Brandon’s boss finds massive amounts of porn on Brandon’s hard drive at work, nearly exposing him, Brandon desperately tries to strike up a healthy romantic relationship with a coworker named Marianne, but finds himself unable, both physically and emotionally, to play the normal lover. Brandon’s troubles are complicated by the fact that Sissy seems to be resurfacing troubling memories from their childhood and emotions that Brandon has fought hard to suppress. As his addiction spirals into overdrive, Brandon comes face to face with the terrible consequences of giving in to his compulsions.

McQueen and Fassbender spent vast resources researching the topic, going so far as to move the setting of the film from London to New York simply because London sex addicts were generally unwilling to relate their experiences with sex addiction. The film deals with a severe illness that is not often discussed and often scoffed at, so that many of the extremities of Brandon’s addiction seem forced or implausible but come out of very real experiences. McQueen and Fassbender set out from the start to explore, to understand, and to empathize, not to judge. Brandon is presented as a man in pain, a man fighting to save himself against immeasurable odds, and so the idea that he’s looked down upon or employed as the principal in some sort of morality play is, as mentioned, baffling to me.

Similarly baffling is the common complaint that Mulligan doesn’t actually sing that well in her featured vocal performance. This is one of those frustratingly blind criticisms that comes from the same tendency that criticized Kubrick for not making his orgies “sexy” in Eyes Wide Shut. Mulligan’s not meant to be a world-class singer—why would she be staying in Brandon’s apartment without a place of her own? Nor is her vocal performance meant to be smooth and perfectly toned. It’s an emotional plea from Sissy to the world and the power is in the moments she slips out of key. Do critics honestly believe, with the vast array of tone correctors that have been aiding poor singers for decades, that McQueen wouldn’t have made her performance perfect if that’s what he wanted to do? If you haven’t seen the film, do yourself a favor and watch Shame without trying to figure out what it’s supposed to be. Because if it’s a good film, and Shame is a great film, you’re going to miss everything and come out frustrated by your own preconceptions. And I don’t believe Brandon cries at Sissy’s performance because he’s bowled over by its beauty, or because he and Sissy were incestuous, which seems to me a fairly pedestrian analysis of their sexual relationship. He cries—for one of many reasons—because she’s his sister and she’s suffering a pain that mirrors his own, which is neither pretentious nor mysterious.

Others have whined that the film is dispassionate and calculating, a cold look at a harsh city world that mimics Brandon’s inability to feel. But this too is entirely bewildering to me. The film blazes with pain, anger, and fear. It is white hot with feeling, and I, who am not often emotionally drawn into the films that I see, was so engaged in the last ten minutes that I physically couldn’t sit still. Brandon yearns for human contact even as he builds a bravado facade of manly bachelorhood. Watch his face when Sissy appears suddenly in his apartment: watch as his fear turns to shock then to barely contained glee, and then to fury. Watch when he shuts the bathroom door, and you can catch the faintest hint of a smile on his face, because he knows deep down she’s good for him—there’s nothing forced in the moment. Fassbender’s Acting award in Venice was well-deserved and I would eagerly applaud similar recognition by the Academy. He is a powerhouse in the film. Watch him at his most delicate in his scenes with Nicole Beharie’s Marianne, where he fumbles over normal romantic interaction and nearly melts with hope for a real relationship.

Critics have been so eager to assume that McQueen was trying obfuscate by having Brandon and Sissy be sexually aware of each other, when their relationship would naturally involve a degree of sexual openness if they both encountered abuse in the past, which is strongly suggested but left mostly to the audience’s imagination. But ambiguity isn’t generally “meant” to confuse. Saying McQueen is just dicking around with the audience to fake complexity by not explicitly explaining everything is like saying that jazz is a pretentious art form because not everyone can follow improvisation. Just because a critic doesn’t like not knowing everything doesn’t make ambiguity a bad move. It just means the critic has no patience.

Critics have also been eager to assume that McQueen was trying to show Brandon “hitting his low” when he goes to the gay nightclub, which is insulting at worst and naive at best. The film makes it pretty obvious that Brandon has been in similar situations before, especially since he knows how to recognize the off-the-map sex club in the first place simply by gazing at a man standing outside its secret entrance. Brandon isn’t hitting his low; he’s just getting another fix, which is why he heads next to an apartment complex to have sex with two attractive female prostitutes. If getting a blowjob from a man was so odious to Brandon as to qualify as a “low,” he would have just gone to the prostitutes and skipped the whole gay nightclub affair. And while there is no tangible “point” to the gay nightclub scene, if you must find some sort analytic meaning, consider the fact that it simply demonstrates his compulsion isn’t about sexual pleasure or sensuality as much as it is about release, pure and simple.

What convinces me finally that Shame is an exceptional film is that, based on the kinds of criticism and praise the film has received, its quality seems more likely. Who’s more convincing: a minority of critics who viscerally despise the film for what they claim it is trying to do, or a majority of critics who admire the film for the actual experience it created for them? Did I become engrossed in this film where so many others fail because I am weak prey for pretension and melodrama, even though I am viscerally repelled by these weaknesses in other films? Or were the critics who railed against the film closing their eyes to an uncomfortable subject and exceptionally courageous risks? Which is more likely? Truly?
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:04 pm

wronglikeright:

20 minus 1

Shame (2011)

Why is Shame so bad? Steve McQueen’s second feature after his excellent debut Hunger stars a couple of excellent actors (Hunger’s Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan) and has a provocative subject matter (sex addition). Given the subtle texturing and delirious use of widescreen cinematography McQueen brought to Hunger, and the confident performance from Fassbender as Irish hunger-striker Bobby Sands, there’s no reason not to expect great things. Hunger is serious business, but also beautiful and thought provoking. Shame is none of these things, and the harder it tries to take itself seriously the sillier it gets. Fassbender’s sex-addicted Brandon just has to look at a woman or guess their eye color before he’s propping them up against a carefully selected graffiti strewn wall in some New York City back alley. Eventually this leads to a night of debauchery so severe that Brandon gets (shock!) hit in the eye and (gasp!) has a homosexual encounter and then a three way, all set to incredibly melodramatic classical music, hysterically juxtaposed with Fassbender’s strained, over-acting face. The actors tall, handsome forehead might as well be stamped with giant letters disclaiming I’M NOT ENJOYING THIS. He’s not the only one.

Is Shame intended as comedy? A parody of some sort? All the dialogue sounds like it could come out of softcore cable porn and makes you yearn for the McQueen that depended on silence, thoughtful sound design and powerful, multi-layered visuals to tell his story. The one key scene of dialogue in Hunger is a long, static, single take sit-down between Sands and a priest, and it says a lot about the acting and the writing (by playwright Edna Walsh) that it’s a surprising standout of a sequence in a movie filled with much showier choices and direction. In Shame, one of the intended standout sequences is an excruciating performance of Sinatra’s New York, New York, sung by Mulligan, backed by a funeral-march of an arrangement. Mulligan’s lounge singer Sissy is Brandon’s sister (nice character name, McQueen). Here’s what we know about the two of them; they (or at least Brandon) were born in Ireland, eventually moved to New Jersey and are profoundly screwed up. Are they attracted to each other? Have they slept together? McQueen seems to think that the more he obscures the answers, the more profound the whole thing is (including a needlessly ambiguous ending that asks us a question we simply don’t care to answer). We know something must be up with Sissy and Brandon, because Mulligan’s Sinatra-impression produces a single tear from Fassbender (and a hearty chuckle from me). Why? Maybe he thinks the song is as bad as I did. Something about the way this scene is staged is simply laughable, the tear the worst kind of unintentional punchline.

What is Shame about? It seems to be the exact inverse of Hunger in every way possible. If the former film told a story about the man embodying a prison, denying himself nourishment to protest an unjust system, if self-sacrifice seemed to be the key to its moral backbone and politically allegorical visuals, then Shame seems to be about indulgence, and unfortunately that extends to McQueen’s attempts at ideas and film making. It’s tempting to say that the movie is “supposed” to feel empty to compliment the characters at its core. But addiction (sexual or otherwise) is a serious issue, and the movie borders on the offensive in the ways it allows Fassbender to wallow in his exploits (must every woman he talks to or passes make goo-goo eyes at him —- and must a trip to a gay club serve as a shocking bottoming out)? and then make an easy point in underlining just how empty it all is, especially while McQueen asks us to take it all so seriously but stages it so laughably, desperately inserting meaning into thin air. If McQueen actually took any of this seriously he’d allow us to know these characters, relate to them, tell us something about them rather than make broad suggestions as characters. The idea that Brandon and Sissy don’t want to let anyone in, so we’re supposed to be frustrated in how little we know (or care) about them simply isn’t enough to make a satisfying movie, nor is the possible preachy allegory that their icy, standoffish behavior might stand for New York City and her citizens. After all, the city is featured prominently in several shots, and the sexual dysfunction extends all over the place (witness the cringe-worthy scene featuring Brandon’s boss commenting on Fassbender’s sexed-up work computer hard drive during a Skype session with his son the morning after he sleeps with Sissy in Brandon’s bed). Woody Allen managed to make a movie about The Big Apple’s moral slippery slope with Manhattan, but he still made an entertaining movie with compelling characters that celebrated the city’s best aspects while also condemning its worst. If this cold, dour lecture of empty self-gratification truly is McQueen’s intention, surely he could come up with a better way of delivering it than purposefully wrapping it up in a poorly made movie featuring one ill-conceived choice after another. The unfortunate effect Shame has is one of intense, serious self-gratification, like one of the frequent shots of Fassbender pleasuring himself in a bathroom. Hopefully the next time McQueen and Fassbender make another movie, they’ll quit jerking us around.

Photo courtesy of fandor.com
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:05 pm

redbloodcelia:


Hum… yeah. Not sure if it has something to do with the fact that I watched it with a couple of people I know, but this film is definitely not as good as I expected.
First, don’t get me wrong, it was nice to watch. I have something for films that have an oceanic tone (or yellowish, as a matter of fact), and it was all very well filmed and fluid overall. I didn’t even mind the sex scenes, no matter how hardcore some of them were. Whatever.
My main complain is that we don’t really know where the whole thing is going. It’s a bit all over the place, torn between Brandon’s sex addiction and Sissy’s suicidal tendencies. The movie brings up very few questions, barely answers them and doesn’t really give any hints to try to do it on your own. What is the cliffhanger at the end supposed to mean? That we don’t care whether he is “cured” or not, that this sex thing isn’t the main thing and that we’re missing the point? Then, do we need to face almost irreversible damage to actually stop thinking about our own little crap and be there for those who matter? Sorry, but that’s just too corny for me to handle tonight…
Anyway, go watch it yourself. Maybe you’ll get it, because I really don’t see why critics went crazy about it, aside from Michael Fassbender’s good acting, and his pretty amazing body, ha.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:06 pm

with-a-j:
Just as powerful as the first time.

So I saw Shame again (the first being at TIFF in September) and the film is every bit as brilliant as I remembered. I was beginning to doubt a little, thinking that maybe I had built it up in my head and that I was going to be let down. I wasn’t. This time though I teared up in more spots and I still got chills.

This time I watched the film differently - having known the story and what happens - I watched the reactions, the little things and I have to say all those things get picked up by the camera and really flesh out the characters.

I also have to say that two people walked out of the film. It was funny because the two people left during scenes that focused only on Brandon and Sissy and their intensity and how close they are physically to each other. I guess these audience members thought the film would turn incestuous?

What I came away with this time was that the whole film tells the story of someone trying to feel something, but isn’t. His sister seems to feel too much and he doesn’t get that or understand it because he can’t feel that much. It’s not until one of the final scenes of the film that Brandon finally feels something - and for me that moment was overwhelming.

image

I really can’t articulate all that this movie means to me, what I think about the story, characters, topic or even the acting without spoiling every moment of the film because it is something that I could discuss for hours.
The only thing that I hated in this film was Michael’s hair - I don’t know why, but at some moments it just was bad and I know that’s shallow but I guess it fits the character.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:08 pm

jacobean:
The Week in Review: "Shame"

Shame has been making waves ever since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, mostly for its insistence on raw sexual honesty, if ‘honesty’ is taken to mean ‘nudity.’ I’m not sure, though, that its NC-17 rating is anything other than a way to draw attention. Could this movie have been made without showing us Michael Fassbender’s p****? Frankly, yes. Though given that Shame is an exploration of sex addiction, McQueen may have known he was going to get slapped with the NC-17 anyways and figured he might as well get his money’s worth.

Regardless: the movie follows Michael Fassbender’s Brandon, a thirtysomething New Yorker working in a generic job at a nameless Manhattan corporation; Brandon attends meetings in glass-walled conference rooms where borderline-businessy terms are bandied about. Brandon’s focus in these meetings, though, is scoping out his attractive co-workers, and he spends his days at work seeking titillation via online pornography and masturbating in the bathroom. His life away from work is much the same, a succession of partners picked up in bars, prostitutes called in, porn and video chatting when neither of those is available.

The arrival of Brandon’s sister for an extended visit makes this lifestyle more complicated, and prompts some sort of existential crisis: Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan, is Brandon’s mirror image, mildly promiscuous but ultimately more grasping for affection and emotional connection. There is some unnamed trauma in their lives, hinted at in dialogue and through their behaviors, though we know nothing about their pasts except that they are from somewhere in New Jersey. Sissy, McQueen seems to suggest, demands affection to fill some void within herself. Brandon has that same void, but his solution is to distance himself from emotion and connection completely: sex is a form of alienation, and an exercise in self-loathing, a way of reducing both himself and his partners to their most objectified states. This is not pleasure but self-abuse, in every sense of the term; never has sex been made so clinical, or so repulsive.

This would all be more powerful if there were any specificity to it whatsoever, but — as in the psychological traumas explored in a different way in Martha Marcy May Marlene — the characters remain cyphers from beginning to end. Indeed, everything in this film has been reduced to a template: we don’t know what Brandon’s job is or what his history is, while his apartment is spartan and bare, empty but for his piles of porn magazines, an old record player, and a bookcase full of albums. We learn a bit more about Sissy — she is a singer, she doesn’t know how to drive, she has lived in Los Angeles for some period of time, she likes vintage clothing — but these tidbits tell us nothing about how she has become who she is.

McQueen, I am sure, would argue that there is no need for any of this, that what matters is the relationship between his characters and the pain that they undeniably feel. Yet it is precisely the relationship between Sissy and Brandon that is so opaque, and that should motivate any power that the film is to have. Their pain, we are led to believe, is the same, and this fact defines both their relationship and their compulsions. But no pain or person or relationship exists apart from its own history. We understand that their is some trauma, that, as the title suggests, Brandon and Sissy are defined by their shame, that somehow this shame is the source of the crisis that will come over both of them by the movie’s end. Without knowing how or why, though, is it any surprise that this film left me cold? We are as alienated from Brandon as he is from everyone else. We see that he is in pain, but in an abstract, studied sort of way. Any sympathy we have is distant and impersonal.

There is something here, something primal, that McQueen is trying to get at. Nonetheless, shame, his declared subject, is the most visceral, ugly, devastating emotion of them all. Alienation is a logical solution, and the one that Brandon adopts. In leaving his audience equally removed, though, McQueen denies us the opportunity to feel, as well as see, Brandon’s pain. To me, that means that it only accomplishes half of what it needs to.

CORRECTION, 12/13, 2:45PM: In the original posting of this review I referred to the Carey Mulligan character as ‘Marianne,’ which one disgruntled reader rightly pointed out was in fact the name of the film’s other speaking female character. The character’s correct name is ‘Sissy,’ as it now appears in the review.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:09 pm

marcellelunainc:
Scathing, Yet Slutty, and Always Witty Review of Shame.

image
Saw Shame today. The first ten minutes…are interesting, let’s put it that way. I found myself asking a lot of “Why..” questions throughout the movie. Why does he ever have this addiction? Where has his sister been, if not with him? Why does he have no friends that see what he’s going through and try to help him? Why did he throw out all of his porn; because he wants to change? Why did he just let his sister sleep with his boss in his own home? And so on.

Mcqueen should have focused more attention on the reasons behind the actions, the thoughts and motivations of the characters actions, rather than just the actions. The movie was chalk-full of dialogue and movement, but rarely ever did we know what the connotations of the scene or of the actions were. The ommitance of this, made it more interesting in some ways, because you never know what was going to happen next.

Having said that, the whole thing, revolving around sex, could have come across very raunchy and ostentatious, but it didn’t. There were the graphic moments, but for the most part, the movie was very tastefully done. The music really helped. It was all very melodic piano pieces that made the movie seem more artistic, almost like a moving painting.

Despite any problems I had with the movie, it kept me intrigued and fascinated the whole time. I didn’t want it to end yet; I wanted to know what happens to Brandon and Sissy. I got emotionally attached to both characters. Which is a good sign. In the end, it gave me sufficient material for any fantasies that I will undoubtedly have about Michael after this, and for that, I thank the makers of this movie.

And Micheal Fassbender’s naked body is a masterpiece. FRONT AND BACK.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:09 pm

rendezvousordie:
Just got back from watching Shame

My roommate and I had been planning on seeing it before semester’s end but found out last night that the closest location was in NY, an hour and a half away by train. So we did the impulsive college senior thing and cut our last classes and hopped the next train to the city. Met up with another friend and…

Welp.

I ah. Wow.

Fassbender’d better get a f#%@#&! Oscar or five for this one or there will be blood. I just now got off the train and noticed how stiff my shoulders were. I realized that I was tense the entire second half of the movie. I can’t even begin to describe this thing. Well, for one, I couldn’t unsee him as Magneto for the first 10 minutes which was waaaay awkward. But past that… fkhckjhad.

Mad kudos to the scriptwriters, for the little dialogue there was, they made it work so well. The long shots were grueling. The sex is completely unsettling. It was grotesque. It was beautiful. I don’t even know what to think anymore. McQueen knows how to make and manipulate tension, for sure.

I feel as if they could’ve cut out a bit at the end (if you’ve seen it you know which part) but other than that, it’s nigh perfect in how flawed and almost disgusting it is.

Critics were gushing about Fassbender in reviews and I thought it was a bit overblown but dear LORD they were not exaggerating at all. This man was the movie. The faces he can pull… Also, just a note for anyone who’s thinking of seeing it, this is kind of a spoiler (I won’t go into details) but just warning you, there’s quite the possible trigger for self harm Sad I didn’t expect that bit. Fair warning.

So, overall, I’m oddly excited to watch it again? Hm. I’m interested to see the difference… I swear the tension at times was positively gut wrenching.

Anyone else see it? (And for anyone else in/near NYC, we’re seeing it again on Saturday XD)
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:10 pm

http://thefilmfatale.tumblr.com/post/14152068763/shame-2011-how-does-one-tackle-such-a-taboo

SHAME (2011)

How does one tackle such a taboo subject matter as sex addiction without coming off as exploitative? Apparently Steve McQueen has the answer, and considering all the praise his most recent film Shame has gotten, the critics seem to agree. Shame, a story about a man suffering from sex addiction whose world is disturbed by the arrival of his estranged struggling artist sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), reunites McQueen with Michael Fassbender, whom he worked with in 2008’s Hunger.

Fassbender plays Brandon, whose addiction is so severe that it encompasses everything in his life. At work, his computer has to be confiscated and cleaned out because it is filled with porn of the vilest sort. When he’s not jerking himself off in the shower, he goes on online sexcapades via webcam, or calling prostitute after prostitute in one night. After his sister crashes at his apartment, he finds his personal space invaded in more ways than one. Finding it difficult to satisfy his urges with his sister in the same room, Brandon tries the old-fashioned approach at getting intimate: he asks out a coworker, Maria, who he has been eyeing for a while but, interestingly enough, never approached. Maria and he hit it off, but for Brandon this is unfamiliar territory, and he is thoroughly uncomfortable about the spontaneity and self-consciousness of it all; so much so that he can’t even get aroused when he and Maria have sex. Despite having bedded many women, Brandon is a relationship virgin, and although viewers such as myself would love to know what traumatic experience led Brandon down this road, we are never privy to his emotional baggage.

The film is as bare and hollow as its main character, with little dialogue and none of the flashy visual stylings of its artsier peers. It’s clear within the first half of the film that both Brandon and Sissy have emotional problems, however the root of that is never explored in the film. In fact, McQueen and co-scribe Abi Morgan seem to have gone out of their way to strip the film out of all back story, leaving the audience guessing about where these emotional issues come from. While this storytelling device worked in the sense that it mirrored Brandon’s lack of intimacy with everyone, I personally found it difficult to relate to any of the characters. And perhaps that was the point, however it dulled the film’s climax a bit for me.

Big cities can be brutal and unforgiving, especially New York. Amid all the hustle and bustle of Wall Street and Times Square, meaningful connections can be hard to come by or maintain. I had expected there to be a little bit more of this type of theme, or at least perhaps just visually captured, especially after seeing Carey Mulligan’s character Sissy perform the melancholy “New York, New York”. The song was performed in such a way that it was easy to discern it as a cry for help rather than a couple minutes worth of bluesy entertainment at a posh New York lounge.

Michael Fassbender’s performance, as expected, was well done. He was raw and uninhibited, and for those 100 minutes he was that troubled guy consumed by his addiction. I liked that although there was a great deal of graphic nudity, it never felt sexy or erotic. It felt invasive, inappropriate and dirty - shameful, to be exact. Carey Mulligan’s Sissy was frenetic and all over the place, the complete opposite to her brother’s self-contained turmoil. She delivered a commendable performance that would have been pitch perfect if it was delivered with a little more careless abandon.



Overall, I thought the film was well done in terms of editing and performance, however I felt like it needed a bit more meat (pun intended) in the story. Because sex addiction is rarely depicted on screen (unless you count Californication, which I don’t), I felt that the audience needed a little bit more of a hand (wink, wink) to be able to understand it as a sickness not unlike any other addiction. I also liked some of the insightful, thought-provoking moments in the film, such as the instance where Brandon’s boss, David (played by James Badge Dale), says that it takes a sick person to have so much porn stored in their computer, while just having cheated on his wife the night before. It was almost a commentary on how it seems almost socially acceptable to cheat on your spouse or lover but somehow pornography, which is usually something people engage with in solitude, still has the bigger stigma.

Since we were deprived of whatever back story these characters may have had, it was difficult to emotionally invest in the film. In hindsight this makes sense, because it made me as a viewer feel as though the main characters were holding me at arms length, never feeling comfortable enough to ever get too intimate. While I probably wouldn’t watch the film again, I thought it was interesting, and from a filmmaking perspective, daring and provocative.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:28 pm

iammalkovich:
Movies of 2012 - No. 36

Movie: Shame
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan
Director: Steve McQueen
Released: 2011

Shame is a movie that I’ve wanted to see for a considerable amount of time, not just because it was getting great word of mouth but because it seemed like a truly fascinating concept. On top of that Steve McQueen does bleak story telling incredibly well, Shame is further proof to that the claim. This movie is incredibly insular and cold and on one hand that builds a wall between the audience and Brandon (Fassbender) but by shutting us out to the hows and why’s it creates a great enigma as well as an icy atmosphere. Much like Ryan Gosling’s performance in Drive, Fassbender really works the non verbal angle with great success. There are moments where it lingers a little too long but there are also some pretty staggering moments in there too. Shame is not a movie that focuses on what is being said but rather what isn’t, the surface value is great but underneath there is a whole other dimension of subtext, which I believe would be exposed a little more each time you watch it.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:29 pm

http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk/2012/01/shame-review/

Shame: review
By Sarah Kirkland · January 27, 2012 · No comments
Entertainment, Reviews · Tagged: Film, review, Shame
Michael-Fassbender-007

Warning for slight spoilers contained in this review (but nothing that will make you break out in hives).

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Nicole Beharie

Written by: Steven McQueen & Abi Morgan

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Rated: 18

I’m not sure what I expected from ‘Shame’. It’s been everywhere as that film about sex, the one that was given an NC-17 rating in America (aka the Box Office Rating of Death), and advance reviews that I read suggested that, at the very least, I would leave the cinema completely traumatised.

And then I went to see it, and it blew me away.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a film aimed solely at adults that was actually any good. ‘Closer’, for instance, tried to be a film for adults but was more focused on telling the story of a group of people who were adolescents trapped in adult bodies and swore a lot. But ‘Shame’ is a whole other kind of storytelling – for people with intelligence who think about things – and it’s extraordinary.

To begin with, ‘Shame’ is a film about sex addiction that has the least sexy sex scenes in it ever, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch. In many ways, the experiences of one individual – Brandon, played by Michael Fassbender – is the lens through which we can look at a much wider subject matter; that of the human condition, and the lengths that people will go to when they’re searching for something.

Brandon’s existence – and it is an existence, not a life, that he’s living – shows the contradiction presented by society’s attitude to sex; it’s everywhere, used to sell anything and everything. On my way to the cinema, I saw a sign that said “SEX! … now that we’ve got your attention, call in and check out our range of precision-cut keys.” In this age of the consumer as king, sex is just another commodity to be bought and sold.

While society actively encourages having as much as sex as possible, sexual prowess used as a marker of a person’s ability to have fun – exemplified perfectly in the character of Brandon’s boss, David ( James Badge Dale) – reaching out and taking what society is offering proves that it’s not all it seems. People like Brandon are the ones who are pushed aside, exiled to the margins because they’re seen as ‘disgusting’. The conversation between Brandon and his boss about the contents of his computer’s hard drive points up perfectly the hypocrisy inherent in the consumerist attitude towards sex.

From the moment that the film opens, the camera hovering over Brandon staring dead-eyed at the ceiling – his blue bedsheets presenting a stark contrast to his pale, thin body – we are taken on a journey with a man whose life is defined by the overwhelming, constant urge for sex. His encounters are ritualised, almost habit; he is introverted and solitary. His addiction is such a driving force that everything else is tuned out; his job, though he is good at it, is not enough to quell the urge; his apartment is sparse and bare, with hardly any life or personality to it; even his fridge is empty, Brandon seeming to consist on a regular diet of coffee and Red Bull. Brandon is a man stripped of all dignity and self-respect, but full of self-loathing. Tension sits on his shoulders – so much so that it’s almost tangible – in the lines of his face, and stares back at him in the mirror.

And then Brandon’s sister Sissy (played by Carey Mulligan) arrives – her arrival heralded, appropriately, by the song “I Want Your Love” blasting through Brandon’s normally quiet apartment. She is his polar opposite, extroverted and emotional, completely unafraid of showing how she feels – and baffled by her brother’s attitude towards her. It is here that we see the first cracks appearing in Brandon’s careful facade, and her presence drives the rest of the film.

While Brandon and Sissy are opposites in terms of personality, they are both as broken as each other, the events of their past still haunting them. We are never told their backstory, never given an explanation about what happened to break both of them so completely. There is a moment when Brandon hears Sissy crying through the wall of his bedroom, and the look on his face suggests that this is not an unfamiliar experience.

Both of them want to escape; in a glorious, glorious scene, Sissy sings a stripped-down, emotionally raw version of “New York, New York” that strikes such a chord with Brandon that tears escape down his face. It’s a song filled with such hope, but achingly sad for those who have tried to make it somewhere, anywhere, and not succeeded.

The underlying tension of the film snaps into sharper focus with Sissy’s arrival; there is an argument between the siblings that resembles a car crash, as their relationship disintegrates with an intensity that is completely riveting. In fact, these scenes feel more uncomfortable to watch than the sex scenes.

Brandon’s attempts to hang on to the life he has made for himself can’t last forever; his breakdown, when it happens – inevitable from the moment that someone comes too close to the things that he wants to keep hidden – involves huge, body-wracking sobs, all of the pain and desperation and helplessness he feels pushing its way to the surface. There’s a scene near the end where Brandon has a moment of ecstasy, which looks as far from ecstasy as it’s possible to imagine; the pain on his face is visceral and desperate. It’s a haunting image that stuck with me long after the film had ended.

Cinematically speaking, ‘Shame’ is a beautiful film. Shot in hues of blue, black and silver, all glass and metal, New York City is as soulless and cold as Brandon’s addiction. Steve McQueen is a fantastic director, composing long, elegaic scenes, and shunning conventions such as framing a conversation between two people in two points of view. There are lovely touches here and there that add to its beauty – at an urgent and dramatic moment, we only see Brandon’s face in a distorted reflection – and when McQueen cuts loose, the camera following Brandon as he runs through the city at night, all restless energy, like the city itself, it’s a wonderful thing to see. I should also mention the soundtrack, which I have on repeat while I write this; it’s full of some very appropriately chosen songs, and matches the tone of the film perfectly.

McQueen, along with Abi Morgan, also wrote the script; as with ‘Hunger’, there is humour to be found in unexpected places. There’s not a lot of dialogue in the film, but what there is reveals all kinds of things; Brandon’s attempt at seducing a girl in a bar, crossing all kinds of lines, and then mouthing off to her boyfriend, teases out more complicated layers of his character.

The cast is also excellent. Nicole Beharie, playing Marianne, Brandon’s colleague who he attempts to date, is loveliness itself; she is level-headed and kind, and treats Brandon with the sort of gentleness that he is neither used to nor, tragically, able to understand or cope with. Carey Mulligan is a revelation, playing a completely different role to what we usually see her in, and she invests Sissy with fragility and neediness, making her very easy to love.

The film, though, belongs to Michael Fassbender. In the hands of a lesser actor, Brandon would’ve been a very unsympathetic character, too distant to relate to; here, I found that I liked Brandon, a lot, and that made the film a little easier to navigate, despite the dark and desperate places it goes to. Fassbender’s face can convey a myriad of emotions with a mere flicker behind his eyes, (praise be for waterproof mascara, as he made me cry for the last ten minutes of the film) and the way that he strips Brandon’s character down, exposing everything that he is (literally, in the first two minutes) while caught in a vicious cycle that defeats his attempts to break free of it, is a masterclass in acting.

Despite the difficult subject matter, ‘Shame’ manages to show that ultimately, there is hope for Brandon (and Sissy), and that makes its end uplifiting, rather than tragic. McQueen managed the same trick in ‘Hunger’ – while Bobby Sands might have died a terrible death, he did so with his soul intact and his morals uncompromised. ‘Shame’ proves that no matter where we might find ourselves, or whatever desperate situations we find ourselves in, there is always a way out.
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Re: Shame reviews 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:38 pm

http://lamb-onthe-lam.tumblr.com/post/16781175073/brandon-fassbender-is-a-working-professional-in

Brandon (Fassbender) is a working professional in Manhattan. He has a well paying job and a nice apartment. Most people would refer to him as a sex addict. He has sex with prostitutes, he has sex with women he barely knows and he has sex with girls over the internet. When he’s not having sex, he’s thinking about having sex.

Brandon’s ritualistic lifestyle is interrupted by the arrival of his sister Sissy (Mulligan). Is it apparent that they have a complicated past. It is also apparent that Brandon resents the fact that Sissy craves his love and attention.

McQueen has a way of making an audience member feel empathy, disgust and heartbreak all at the same time. Brandon is most certainly not a hero, but McQueen doesn’t present him as a villain either. He is just a conflicted human being.

I really appreciate McQueen’s direct approach to his work. His films don’t contain a lot of fluff or superfluous editing techniques. For example, there is a dinner scene in Shame between Brandon and a female co-worker that he is getting to know. The entire scene was just one shot (McQueen did the same thing in his movie Hunger where he set a record with a 17 1/2 minute shot). As a result, the audience has no choice but to directly confront the situation at hand. We need to see why Brandon can’t develop meaningful relationships with women.

After a nightlong binge and several missed calls from Sissy, Brandon returns home in a panic. Sissy has attempted suicide. We see the love that he has for his sister, and we see just how hard it is for him to be stuck in his own skin. By the end of the film, we don’t know whether or not the recent trauma that Brandon and his sister have experienced has changed his ways.
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