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Shame reviews 3

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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:15 pm

aknighterrant:
Days 8/9/10 - 12 Angry Men/Shame/The Way

SHAME (2011)

For me watching Shame was when it really hit home as to the ridiculousness of this years oscar nominations. Not only the huge and glaring miss of Michael Fassbender in his most vulnerable role yet, but also for Direction and Best Picture.

I went into the cinema expecting, from all the critic reviews, to see a film that was gritty and disturbing and would pretty much leave me feeling dirty. What I never expected to see was beauty. From the first frame I was with this film until the end. Steve McQueen has proven that he is a director here to stay for a long time and after only two films.

Large portions of the film are scored with what is obviously a slight alteration of Hans Zimmer’s music from The Thin Red Line (but it is so great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU2isKnpLqE) and it works wonders. The scene for me that really sums up the movie comes early on when Brandon (Fassbender) sits across from a pretty woman on the train, he staring at her whilst she starts throwing flirty glances his way. Until she remembers the wedding ring on her finger and quickly leaves.

The only thing I wondered at one point is whether ‘Shame’ is an appropriate title for the film, but I’ll let you decide that for yourself.

I watch Shame and learn to become a better Director myself.

At this point I think it’s safe to say that I feel that Shame is only just behind Tree of Life as the best film of 2011.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:17 pm

littlebumpkin:
'SHAME' Film Review

SHAME (2011)

Director: Steve McQueen


It’s always interesting to hear people’s opinions of a film they’ve just taken 90 minutes out of their busy and exciting lives to sit and watch. Most people don’t stay until the end of the credits. I used to be one of them. Now, I’m an attentive and appreciative film student (or would like to think so), I sit until the very end, watching every credit as it rolls across the black screen. I also begin to eavesdrop on the conversations of audience members who filter quickly out of the auditorium; eager, now that the illusion is over, to go out and fill the empty voids within their schedules. On this occasion, it was the ignorant comment of a man sat a row behind me, as the title ‘SHAME’ presented itself on screen that caught my special attention. “Why would you wanna make a film about a guy who likes to wank all the time?” I had to laugh at this. Needless to say that this poor man is not in the least bit artistically inclined.

You’ll have to excuse my snobbery when I admit this, but when I go to see a film in a multiplex, surrounded by members of the public, straight away I feel like I know more than they do regarding what’s about to be shown on screen. They are passive spectators, unable to admit how much a film actually influences the way they think about things or carry out their lives, even if it’s in the smallest way possible. I may be wrong when I say this (though I’m probably not), but- when you’ve paid to watch a film about a sex addict who spends a great deal of his time prowling the shadows of New York City, engaging in animalistic and masochistic behaviour with the night sky as his alibi- you expect to see some wanking. It fits in with the whole ‘genre expectation’ thing. A psychological erotic thriller (and categorising Shame is no easy task), means lots of close ups on writhing body parts, explicit dirty talk and a blunt medium-close up of Michael Fassbender’s rather sizeable endowment before the film even reaches mid-feature length.


However, the concept of Shame is much more than the humping that rocks the surface. To me, this is a film about psychological entrapment and the grotesque human punishment that stems from the impregnation of self-hatred and loss of self-worth. Characters pass through large, empty spaces, stalking their own reflections in glass walls, windows and mirrors in a thought provoking motif that echoes the title of Steve McQueen’s fearless movie. The clinical aesthetics of the protagonist’s apartment resonate with the eerie and sadistic living space of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Although, instead of Fassbender chasing women around with a chainsaw, he occupies a setting in which the hollow emptiness framed is filled with obsessive compulsive tendencies towards sex and self-loathing with references to cybersex, porn and a great deal of wanking.

The relationship between brother and sister, performed by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, is one that I questioned because of its incestual implications throughout the film, though I soon began to realise that this draws parallels between both siblings’ disturbed lives and ultimately, makes them compatible as humans; one craves love from anything that moves and cannot function without it, while the other is unable to permeate his sexual construct with the vulnerability that love can cause. Profound stuff for a film about ‘… a guy who wanks all the time’, right? That’s because the audience member who sat behind me throughout this evocative film was wrong. Furthermore, he was disturbed, which means the film worked in its psychological affect on human conscience. This guy probably wanks far too much in an attempt to satisfy his quench for life and is just too afraid to admit it. And he probably loved the frank shot of Fassbender’s big willy.

Suffice to say, he was Shame’d.

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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:18 pm

filmstudies101:

Shame ****1/2

I finally went and saw Shame after eagerly awaiting for about 6 months! Lets just say I was not the least bit disappointed, It exceeded my expectations in every single way. The style and direction was obviously Mcqueen style and similar to Hunger which is such a treat from every other film that comes out: ever! The thing that puts it above the rest is the slow and patient camera, the takes are incredibly long (for example an awkward dinner date with a single shot, single camera set up that lasts about 12 minutes but somehow remains so captivating and engaging). These long simplistic takes give it a breathe of fresh air, they let you soak in everything that is going on in the scene. The dialogue and acting is also so incredibly real and raw. No fancy monologues, no witty one liners, just real life awkward, raw speech. The spiral of Brandon’s addiction is portrayed so well. He goes to such lengths to dull the pain: he needs his fix. Fassbender is absolutely spellbinding in Shame, he doesn’t need to say a single word but with a glance he can say what a two page monologue can not. His performance is so raw and (literally and emotionally) naked and laid bare for everyone to see. As well as Carey Mulligan who was so broken and longing for connection that the first instance of praise is taken as a proposal. There are clearly not enough words for me to describe my appreciation for this film and the only thing that can do it justice is to go and see it! In my opinion it was completely snubbed at the Oscars and every other awards show of late. Fassbender shoudl have won them all but let alone not even be nominated for the Oscar?!?!?!?!?! Who do they think they are? As well as Mulligan who wasn’t even mentioned anywhere this awards season. It’s unfortunate because it is films like this that will be talked about for years to come, and not just “that one black and white silent film”.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:18 pm

tell-itlikeit-is:
SHAME

So, I saw shame tonight. It was great, and it really kinda scared me in a new way.

Excluding sex addicts, I will never be able to understand how people can have one night stands.

Never.

Ever.

That, to me, is more scary than any horror movie.

Truly. Truly truly in my heart of hearts, I can never have a one night stand.

How then, do you make love? How can you have sex with someone you love if you’ve been f#%@#&! people once and leaving. Or even worse, having a habitual “f&#! buddy”.

It blows my mind.

Making love is the only way to have sex. What’d be the point if you don’t do it with someone you love? They leave the next morning and wouldn’t you feel…empty after that? Lonely? Wouldn’t you just want..more?

At this age, the phrase “Making love” is enough to scare guys shitless. So, quite frankly, I don’t want anything to do with guys right now, or for the next 7 years.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:18 pm

recycledvinyl:
Shame

Wow. Just… wow.

Glad I went alone though. I don’t think I would feel comfortable watching and discussing with people I know irl at this point. Too many emotions I guess, especially considering the ending.

But yeah, f#%@#&! amazing movie. Michael Fassbender was brilliant. Wow.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:19 pm

altmil:

45/365 - Shame

Wow. I don’t even know where to begin with this movie. I guess I can start by saying the fact that it got zero nominations, like Drive, is completely ridiculous. The acting, the writing, the cinematography, the directing. Everything was just amazing. This beyond lived up to expectations. Emotionally this hit me over and over and it’s still with me. Everyone who hasn’t seen it should go see it as soon as it’s possible for them.

9.5/10
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:20 pm

sjmj91:
'Shame' review

Although Shame had begun and processed with a rather easy and short combination of a low budget at only £4.2 million, a very short duration during the shooting of the film that lasted up to 25 days and after its release, receiving a low box office taking - $9 million approximately, it earned its well-deserved positive critical acclaim despite it’s overly explicit sexual content that sealed it with an NC-17 rating in the US. Considering that there are films which either receive an NC-17 rating or anything mostly consisting of sex can be completely misunderstood for something involving pornography, Steve McQueen brings forth a film with a slight Stanley Kubrick and Bernardo Bertolucci-like style and approach to it that makes it a very gripping and magnificently filmed accomplishment with a very that leaves a very interesting but thought-provoking message.



Thirty-something Brandon Sullivan is a New York yuppie. He is also a sex addict who thinks about sex all the time when he’s not having sex. He surfs for porn on his work computer, masturbates often even in his office’s men’s room, and eyes strange women in whatever situation he’s in in the hopes of having quick anonymous sex with them. The arrival back into his life and his apartment of his sister Sissy Sullivan, from who he was estranged due to the emotional baggage associated, changes Brandon’s life, especially in what he can do in what used to be the privacy and sanctity of his apartment. Brandon’s life begins to spiral out of control following Sissy’s arrival. He gains a better understanding, albeit an unpleasant one, of his life following an incident involving Sissy.



Considering that the plot and the background passions that Brandon has and can occasionally become a bit awkward whilst watching the film, Shame expresses that mesmerising feeling of pure beauty behind it. It provides a whole new meaning to sex that we hadn’t really thought about before: the act as a whole is quite possibly the most passionate and pleasurable feeling one could ever endure but at the same time, this passion and pleasure could turn into something rather dangerous and become the biggest trap of all! Shame is one of those films that you’d watch where the story almost has absolutely nothing to do, therefore you cannot predict what is going to happen. So, what we have with Shame in that sense is that there are a few unexpected twists and turns around the corner.



Michael Fassbender has already broken through the layers of blockbuster triumphs and collaboration with famous directors after appearing in a vital role in Quentin Tarantino’s war film Inglourious Basterds and then progressed to renovate the role of Eric Lehnsherr/Magneto as a young man in X-Men: First Class. So, now with two different cinematic experiences on his shoulders, Fassbender goes on to portray yet another extraordinary role that hasn’t really been bought forth previously as we embark on his unorthodox adventures following his sexual passions and fantasies. Fassbender provides almost everything that you could ask for as we understand Brandon’s struggles that not only become deeply emotional but also rather horrifying at the same time. His performance is without a doubt one of the most powerful performances of 2011 and it will be very difficult for him to be able to pull off a stronger and more thought-provoking performance in the future than what he gave us here.



Alongside Michael Fassbender is the young and incredibly beautiful Carey Mulligan as Brandon’s sister. Mulligan has been recognised just like Ryan Gosling throughout 2011: delivered absolutely outstanding performances where she has been a strong and favoured Oscar contender for more than one film but has been completely shunned by the Academy. Her role as Sissy was occasionally all sweet and innocent but as we understood her a bit more, there turned this psychologically dangerous girl with a few problems. Another pointer about Mulligan in Shame is there is another whole new side to her that we hadn’t seen before: she is an absolutely fabulous singer! James Badge Dale becomes a huge effective character in his role as Brandon’s sleazy and flirty boss David, so he is yet another reason why Shame works in every aspect so exquisitely.



At approximately 40 years old, Steve McQueen makes only his second feature film throughout his entire career after 2008 biographical-drama Hunger, which also ironically starred Michael Fassbender. Together, they collaborate once more in another eccentric film that has identical filming and screenwriting aspects particularly to Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and Bertolucci’s Last Tango In Paris. It is the eerie and rather slow styles of camera angles especially in sexual scenes, unique forms of music and the occasional use of vulgar language. Each of this films as part of different generations provide the fact that film is a form of art in the various key aspects as well as for pure entertainment. McQueen’s next project Twelve Years A Slave in 2013 will become another exciting film to look forward to with Michael Fassbender appearing again.

Overall, Shame is one of those rare films that you’d watch and find both easy and difficult to watch on equal fronts as it expresses the pleasure and dangers of sex with a surreal and eerie approach to it. It is undoubtedly the greatest British film of 2011 and like many other public favourites; it has been snubbed massively by the Academy and Golden Globes! Shame could easily be described as a true dark horse of a film as it’s another great piece of art that becomes something very beautiful but also grippingly intense to watch.

RATING: 9/10
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:24 pm

ostwinner:
Saw Shame tonight with the girls

I felt like half the film was agonising to watch.

Not because it was a bad film. Far from it. Shame is a great film for me because of how jarring it is at some points, as well as how it hits close to home in others.

You’re essentially watching a man f#%@#&! up his life behind closed doors (to use the expression) for 90 minutes, and every time you see him get on a train to go to work, you wonder if he’s going to do it over and over again.

I think Brandon is a good, if exaggerated, example of what it can be like to date in the modern world. Putting aside his addiction to the sex that can be found in pornography, I think Brandon possibly represents the type of person who entertains idealistic notions about what a relationship should be. However, because of the nature of the society he lives in, he cannot find that sort of relationship, or just can’t be bothered to try. It’s understandable that he could possibly think this way, since for most people there’s no such thing as ‘The One’, emotions can complicate things, and a marriage can be dissolved with ease these days. It’s no wonder that sex seems like an ‘easy’ alternative.

Sex then becomes an outlet for him, not just because it’s possible to just see it as gratification or no-strings attached, but because his experience of it through porn, makes it somewhat clinical for him. I don’t know about anyone else, but I get a very clinical view of sex from looking at porn. For Brandon, sex is like waking up the the morning, taking the train to work or turning on a computer at work. It’s just another automated daily routine for him.

The most agonising scene for me to watch was his date with Marianne. It was so awkward, but so real. I had a first date with someone that was full of awkward silences and lapses in conversation, so I was pretty much cringing throughout the entire scene.

Other things I enjoyed about the film were: the interaction between Brandon and Sissy that bordered on being slightly incestuous sometimes, the beautiful cinematography during the scene where Brandon was jogging through New York, and the strange juxtaposition of piano/orchestral pieces during sex scenes.

I think the pacing, long silences and drawn out scenes might be considered offputting, but I think that’s the effect Steve McQueen wanted for this film. You’re meant to sit there and agonise and get annoyed by the characters. At least that’s what I think.

Oh well, props to this film anyway!

P.S Michael Fassbender makes some really creepy faces in this one. They put Erik Lehnsherr’s faces to shame.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:24 pm

hopper-for-lucy:

I just saw this film a few hours ago and I’m finally up to writing a mini-essay on it.

The film is dark, confronting and unsettling. In no way does the film glorify sex. Whenever Brandon is f#%@#&! a woman, there is nothing beautiful about it. Steve McQueen shows that Brandon (because of his addiction) is frustrated, on edge and unsympathetic. When I was scrolling through the ‘Shame’ tracked tag on tumblr, I was disappointed to see that the only gifs being made were of Fassy’s d***, with the captions being “yummy” or something along the same lines. But to me, McQueen through his camera angles/techniques isn’t showing us how glorious Brandon is but how his addiction is ruining everything around him.

I think that McQueen created a really great balance between showing Brandon’s crumbling family life, how he interacts at his work and how his addiction over rules it all. The viewer can see that he has no emotional attachment to anyone whatsoever, except his computer which has all his porn stored on it. I was really frightened by that concept. Without giving to much away, the scene where Carey Mulligan (Sissy, his sister) is trying to convince Brandon that she is his only family and he should be caring for her, Brandon’s eyes are just blank and his responses are uncaring. When he tries to begin a relationship with a woman from his work, that fails too. McQueen shows that Brandon is a complete failure when it comes to communicating, hence his addiction. He’s not asking for comfort, love or companionship - and thats why he feels Shame afterwards.

I thought that the set design was really interesting as well. McQueen (just like in Hunger and his short films) favours long, uninterrupted shots. So when the film opens, I was staring at all the interiors (with giant glass windows and empty white walls) in a sort of awe, thinking “these places are really nice actually”. But as the film progresses I realised that these interiors reflect Brandon’s personality exactly. His work, his home are all traps - he is boxed in because his addiction isn’t allowing him to interact with the world on a healthy level. The walls are empty because Brandon can’t feel a wide range of emotions other than pleasure or shame. The film left me utterly depressed - there is a lot to think about addiction and how humiliation and anguish one feels and cannot escape from feeling.

I was talking to a few people too and most were not interested in the film because they think that its “too perverted” or “too sick”. But, on the other hand, when there is a film about a drinking problem or drug addiction, they’re more than happy to see it. The film needs to be given a chance because McQueen does really pay a lot of attention to the negative consequences of addiction. As I said before he isn’t glorifying anything about Brandon’s life. This addiction needs to be acknowledged by people, not pushed away (like what Brandon’s doing, what his boss does also).

Another reviewer actually, said that Michael Fassbender wasn’t nominated for an Oscar because the Academy does not like to see men “bare all”. But when a woman does so, she is commended. I really dislike that attitude, because Fassbender in this film really gives viewers a reason to feel and to think in the cinema. He is being brave to be part of such a story because it is not a popular one.

I hope that people see that there is more to the film than just Michael Fassbender and his appearance. McQueen isn’t making the viewer judge Brandon or anything, but rather giving an insight into Brandon’s crumbling world about a disease that seems to be becoming more of a problem in today’s society.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:25 pm

ziadyedaya:

I have a severe problem watching television +/ movies without subtitles. My attention span and inability to sit and do nothing severely impact my success in sitting on the couch and engaging with something for more than half an hour. That aside, I go to the movies A LOT and have seen everything even vaguely appealing. Always. A few weeks ago my movie buddy and I went to watch SHAME. I did mean to write about this on the day I saw it (it was a Wednesday, for obvious reasons) I had so much to say, but I never got round to it. Subsequently, half past five on a Thursday morning several weeks later is clearly the opportune time. (Insomnia is also instilling in me a new love for BBC Radio 4. Why am I such a loser?)

So yeah, SHAME.. Absolutely incredible. To be honest, I knew it would be - I would have been severely disappointed if it had been anything less. In a society in which we are bombarded with sexual imagery, and non-imagery for that matter, this movie about sex addiction provided a much needed break and a different perspective - the artistic, the quirky, the pain of all encompassing need. Ever since I saw Carey Mulligan in An Education several years ago I have adored her. And she is so real in her newest pursuit.

We’re not bad people, we just come from a bad place.

Playing one of those characters that I resonate so much with, whilst living an entirely different existence, she encompasses such a broad range of characteristics which juxtapose to form one of the most appealing characters I’ve seen on screen in a long time. Part of me thinks it’s escapism and a longing to be something different, the other part thinks it’s just a recurring reaction to any references to self harm and personal struggle. Eitherway, it’s going in my very inclusive list of movies I could just watch overandoverandover. (My very inclusive list consisting of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen, 28 Days and Across the Universe.)

On a totally unrelated note, I keep hearing/reading references to Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides and feel it’s fate that I read it. Any thoughts? If The Virgin Suicides is anything to go by.. I’m in.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:02 pm

tekotaide:
Films I saw in 2012 #7

image

Shame (2011)

Well, oh wow. I still feel kind of drained from watching this.

As everyone already knows, Shame gives a glimpse into the life of a sex addict. Brandon is far gone, and doesn’t really care. His sister, Sissy, is a troubled girl as well, and her arrival in New York makes Brandon slip completely out of control.

Shame is very carefully written - the filming, editing, music, everything’s in its place. Steve McQueen has done a great job. Some have said that the film overestimates the viewers, but I think that it only challenges us. There are long, quiet scenes, like Sissy singing, and Brandon jogging, which forces the audience to think for themselves. What in Sissy’s “New York, New York” made Brandon cry? (It made me cry too.) It’s there, but it’s hidden.

I’m rambling, though. I was very impressed, but I wouldn’t show this film to my sister, or my mother…

Michael Fassbender was amazing, as everyone already knows, but I think that Carey Mulligan deserves more praise than she gets. She made Sissy very, very real.

Aaand I was fearing that I would get randomly turned on at the cinema, but I didn’t happen that much! The sex was mostly very, very sad. ALTHOUGH, there was that scene where Brandon fingered that random girl at a bar and did that dirty, dirty talk? HOLY f&#!.

image

And I can’t stress enough how sh*#&% this film made me feel.

In a good way, though. In a way that I wish everyone would feel while watching Shame.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:03 pm

neitherfamenorfortune:
My Thoughts On...Shame

That was one of the saddest and loneliest experiences I’ve had in a cinema for a long time and that’s the power of McQueen. Surrounded by my wife, friends and other eager cinema-goers I was wrecked and emotionally exhausted as the lights came up. It’s no secret how highly I regard Steve McQueen’s Hunger, and his follow up is similarly bruising and bruised, brutal and cinematically formidable.

It’s a fascinating piece, with Fassbender epic in the central role, making a mockery of Oscar nominations like Gosling in Drive before him. It’s an incredible performance that conveys utter masculine alienation wonderfully, and heartbreakingly.

McQueen’s eye is immaculate, as you would expect from an artist, but it’s so cinematic. He understands film grammar, meaning and symbolism, stretching it to new forms and revelling in existing syntax. This is a beautifully composed, shot and edited film that burrows to the core of modern life, modern man, modern existence.

I came out thinking the music was the only thing I didn’t like, until I started to think about it, and realised that the familial depiction in the film is one of musical motifs. Fassbender is classical music - organised, notated, rigid of form. His sister, Carey Mulligan who breezes in to his life with her own raft of troubles is jazz - free, wounded, unpredictable. The two forms are incompatible, like the brother and sister. They cannot help each other. There’s a scene where Fassbender watches Mulligan sing a jazzed up New York, New York and weeps. Faced with the randomness, the lack of structure, he crumbles. From there, it’s chaos and self destruction.

That scene is one of the most brilliant pieces of scriptwriting and editing for an age. It’s immaculate storytelling. And, And. Abi Morgan co-wrote this? She co-wrote The Iron Lady which is one of the most awful pieces of screenplay writing in an age. Funny how the right collaboration can make you raise the bar.

Also, it was funny hearing Fassbender and the one intimate contact he makes in the film discussing what they would like to be, and when they would like to live, akin to Midnight in Paris the night before. Both films that seek to discover why the world is such a dark, unhappy, dissatisfied place right now. Taking different routes to get there. As sweet and twee as Allen’s film is, McQueen’s is uncompromisingly bleak and savage.

It’s depiction of male domination, need and angst is brutal, where the only hint of tenderness is unfulfilled, unreachable. A slamming indictment, but a beautiful piece of cinema. g*&^%$# if he isn’t one of my favourite filmmakers already, one of the very few whose work I get excited to see because I know I’m going to have to think, and be challenged, and be immersed in a unique, human experience.

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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:03 pm

thegunisinthedog:
Shame

If I were to interview Michael Fassbender about his role in “Shame,” I wouldn’t ask about the sex scenes or the nudity or how he feels about his manliness - I would ask how he can get to the place where the most terrifying sight in the world is him falling to the ground, in tears, in the rain - a crumpled shell.

In David Edelstein’s blurb on why Shame is one of his bottom movies of the year, he cites Fassbender’s “scream of agony mid-orgy” (I’m paraphrasing) as a moment of hilarity. I completely disagree - to see Fassbender draw this ugliness from such a devastatingly beautiful face was the most astonishing and heartbreaking aspect of the film. Because he is beautiful, stunningly, impossibly beautiful - handsome and charming and hitting every light perfectly, attentive in a nearly predatory way while his fop of a boss makes a fool of himself (I loved the foil of these two men - one so utterly clueless, the other horribly knowing, in so many different ways). But to see that beauty collapse, partly because it makes his corruption so much easier, is breathtaking.

That is what amazed me most about this movie. I knew going into it I would get emotional, and would feel for him. I knew what emotions to look for in his face. But I didn’t expect to see him peel back, piece by piece, everything that identifies him as an actor - his ferocity and poise and utter comfort within his skin. My favorite kind of actor is the one who isn’t afraid to get ugly when the character calls for it, and Fassbender is fearless.

If we’re in the mood to compare, I think “Hunger” is a much better film - McQueen’s obsession with overly-long, lingering takes works better when the subject is just as captive as the audience. His style doesn’t mesh well with the real world, which is why his best scenes are made of the shocking and fantastical - the threesome near the end of the film felt like some kind of glorious, squelching alien visitation, and in this section, as Brandon falls apart in earnest, his skill with disjointed narrative really comes together - or of intense, two person dialogues, as the brilliantly taut conversation between Brandon and Sissy shows.

I feel like I understand better now why “Shame” hasn’t been getting the awards attention it maybe deserves - as an already-devoted fan, I’m sure my mind is compensating for moments of over-acting or deficiencies in direction. Who knows if I responded to Fassbender’s acting because I was truly moved, or because I expected to be. In any case, he delivers a unflinching, skewering beast of a performance, which deserves to be commended no matter what.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:12 pm

http://www.noripcord.com/reviews/film/shame

Shame Steve McQueen
Rating - 6/10

When it comes to reviews there's always something of an elephant in the room that is barely ever addressed; that of expectation. It seems at the start of every year that some hotly tipped awards contender will fail to deliver on feverishly strong early word and, for me, this year's example is Shame, the latest from Turner Prize winner-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen.

After the sterling work that he and star Michael Fassbender turned in on their first collaboration Hunger, anticipation for their next project would have been high no matter what they did, but throw in the fact that they were turning their attentions to the very timely, and very much taboo subject of 'sex addiction' (and that McQueen had given it a title that suggests a definitive, cutting, sign of the times howl of despair), and it's hardly surprising that as soon as the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival the word "brave" was thrown about with positive abandon.

But is Shame brave filmmaking? Yes, it must have been hard work for the actors to spend so much of their time baring all - in particular Carey Mulligan follows up her work in Drive by further removing herself from the English rose image she's somehow acquired; making her entrance in brutal, matter of fact, full frontal (although, judging by Fassbender's *ahem* endowment, one wonders if it was more a case of boasting rather than bravery). Also, no, it can't have been much fun for the crew to be surrounding by grinding naked bodies all day (or maybe it was?). Other than that though, what exactly is "brave" about Shame? Sex addiction may be a subject that's in desperate need of discussion, given that the general reaction to the disorder extends to unsympathetic eye-rolls and mutterings of "chance'd be a fine thing", but McQueen's film doesn't even bring a level of insight to the condition that you'd find on daytime TV talk-show. In fact any guy who's left a porno running after having shot his load will be more than aware of the feelings of guilt and disgust that Shame takes close to two hours to communicate.

Technically speaking there's pretty much nothing to find fault with in the film. In fact much could be said to be superlative about it - fittingly, given McQueen's video art background, the photography is exquisite, doing a fine job of capturing New York (a city that has been captured countless times before); the music, ranging from Harry Escott's elegant original score to some finely chosen classics (largely from the seventies and eighties) is never less than exceptionally tasteful; and Fassbender and Mulligan turn in some of their best work, with the former managing to turn his emotions, from cold detachment to irrational rage, on a six-pence.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Shame's script, co-written by McQueen and ubiquitous writer du jour Abi Morgan (also scriptwriter for The Iron Lady and the BBC series The Hour and Birdsong, amongst many others). While, in a superficial sense, the dialogue itself seems fine, often having a pace and sheen to it, as a whole, there is an entire lack of sharpness or depth. Much like Morgan's recent work on The Iron Lady, questions linger as to why she seems so afraid of getting her hands dirty and why she is so determined to stay distant when the material is practically crying out for passionate argument.

Nor could it be said do the trials and tribulations of the central characters evoke much sympathy, despite those aforementioned incredible performances. Mulligan's Sissy is one of those overly dramatic flakes that only seem to exist in movies; the dark flip-side of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl while, Fassbender's Brandon may be in hell, but it is a very comfortable sort of hell, with the prostitutes and one night stands he resorts to all very Hollywood primped and clean (even the briefest of forays into the murky side of the internet show that the true face of sex addiction is far less photogenic). He may spend most of his time at work filling his hard-drive with porn, but that doesn't stop him from excelling in his cushy corporate job (theoretically, it could be argued that the film is hinting at the roots of his problem being born in the macho-culture of modern capitalism, with his interactions with David, his boss, solely filtered through skirt-chasing, "bros before hos" conversations, including one chilling example where David casually takes a break from video chatting with his young son to run through a ridiculously detailed list of pornography with Brandon, but it would be a fairly stretched, underdeveloped argument). As with The Iron Lady it could be said that Morgan's refusal to judge her characters is an admirable and unexpected decision, but not the right one; perhaps Brandon and Sissy need a degree of interrogation and judgement to unlock what makes them tick as, as it is, not only are they unpleasant company, but, more fatally, they're also boring.

So, the question as it stands is what exactly is Shame for, if not for insight (or, for that matter, entertainment). Perhaps McQueen wants to turn the dirty and degrading into something transcendent (a fairly common concern in the fine art world that he came from)? Occasionally he works wonders, such as when Escott's score is set against images of the of the most aggressive, outrageous gay bar this side of Irreversible, but such moments are merely brief flashes within the film's lengthy run time. Otherwise, what is there for us to learn from Shame? That Fassbender and Mulligan are exceptionally gifted actors? That McQueen is a director with a keen visual sense? That pornography is bad and people are increasingly isolated? That a low-key ambiguous ending is a good (but cheap) way to stimulate audience debate after the film has finished? All rather self evident points, but shamefully that's all Shame is interested in dealing with (and yes, I do hate myself for writing that sentence).
21 February, 2012 - 18:13 — Mark Davison
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:20 pm

celluloidandwhiskey:
X-PRESS REVIEW: SHAME

image

The Naked Truth

Directed by Steve McQueen

Starring Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, Nicole Beharie



Michael Fassbender’s pretty much the most interesting actor currently working, as the quality of the filmmakers keen to work with him can attest to. Over the past few years he’s worked with Quentin Tarantino, Matthew Vaughn, David Cronenberg, Steven Soderbergh, and Ridley Scott, but it’s artist and director Steve McQueen who knows best how to utilize his magnetism and fearlessness, as demonstrated first in the confronting Hunger, and now in Shame.

Fassbender is Brandon Sullivan, a successful, handsome, New Yorker who spends every waking moment in pursuit of sex, be it with casual hookups, paid professionals, or simple self-pleasuring. McQueen frames Brandon’s addiction as just that, eschewing any cheap humour - this is clearly a man on the down slope. His spiral towards self destruction is only hastened by the sudden arrival of his sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), and it soon becomes clear that some unidentified trauma looms large in the pair’s shared childhood.

McQueen’s film focuses much more on character than plot, so anyone expecting resolution from this elliptical portrait is out of luck. But then, the real joy - if such a word can be used in this context - is in the way McQueen and Fassbender elide away the character’s protective layers, uncovering a deep well of pain within. Fassbender’s performance is both deliberate and raw, an immeasurably brave portrayal of man literally trying - and failing - to f&#! the pain away.

It almost goes without saying that there’s plenty of flesh on display, but McQueen’s astute camerawork imbues the piece with such a callous and grimy texture that no titillation can be gleaned from the viewing. Sex here is a dirty, desperate, humiliating experience, a cross to bear rather than a state of grace. Brandon is a junkie looking for a fix, and every time the high is less satisfying, the respite from the jones shorter, the downward spiral tighter.

The sense of inevitable, ever-encroaching doom is almost unbearable. From the outset, it’s clear that a happy ending - pun intended - does not lie in Brandon’s future. A tentative, nascent relationship with Samantha (Nicole Beharie), a co-worker, seems to offer some thin hope of redemption, but that is soon dashed - this is a man who cannot allow any real emotional connection in his life, who has retreated into the sensual to get away from his own psychological pain. The very idea of a normal, functional relationship is abhorrent to him, and watching Brandon plunge back into the fleshpots of New York after failing to connect with Samantha is the very definition of heartbreaking.

Shame is by no means an enjoyable film in the strictest sense of the word, but it is an immensely rewarding one. Intellectually rigorous, emotionally uncompromising, and unforgiving in its implications and conclusions, it demonstrates that the searing Hunger was no fluke, and that Steve McQueen is without a doubt a filmmaker of the highest calibre. Recommended.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:23 am

moviewography:

What It’s About: Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a New Yorker who shuns intimacy with women but feeds his desires with a compulsive addiction to sex. When his wayward younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment stirring memories of their shared painful past, Brandon’s insular life spirals out of control.

What I Liked: Michael Fassbender’s performance was amazing and I’m a little shocked that he didn’t get nominated for Best Actor in the Oscars. The lengths the director, Steve McQueen, goes with Fassbender’s character is really surprising, interesting, yet depressing. This film is really a character study on Michael Fassbender seeing what places his sex addiction leads him. Carey Mulligan also does a great job and she has this beautiful scene where she sings and the camera just stays on her. There are actually a lot of good long takes in this film where it follows Fassbender on a run for a few long blocks and him on an awkward date. This film is worth watching for the performances alone.

What I Didn’t Like: There wasn’t much of a story and there were a couple of moments in the film where I felt like it was dragged on for a bit too long.

Watch This If You Like: Hunger (Steve McQueen’s previous film), Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, sex addiction?

Grade: C+
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:24 am

the-fire-rises:

Films watched in 2012 - Shame (2011) by Steve McQueen.
Blue Valentine. And Michael Fassbender, where do I begin? Subjectively his was the best leading performance of the year, and the most upsetting Oscar snub. To me all of the best actor nominees were very subtle and safe performances, whereas Fassbender triumphed in a risky tour de force, which is the ind of thing that we should be honoring. No compliment I can give is sufficient for what he did in this film.

I feel like this film is to me what Drive was to many people this year; a strikingly artistic, daring, unsettling, and bordering on exploitative. One of the key differences for me is that I took the performances and presentation much more seriously in this film, confirming it as art and not exploitation. The other obvious difference is that instead of gratuitous violence, Shame showcases sexuality and nudity, and can’t we all agree sex is better than violence? That’s why if it was up to me I seriously would have given Nicolas Winding Refn’s skull-stomping movie the NC-17 instead of this one.

In conclusion, Shame is absolutely on of the must-see films of 2011 and I hope that you were able to see it on the big screen like I did. I am now in eager anticipation of Steve McQueen’s upcoming 12 Years a Slave, once again starring Fassbender as well as Brad Pitt and Chiwetel Ejiofor, slated for a 2013 release.

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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:50 pm

wildyoungmind:

365 Day Film Challenge-Shame(2011)

So I finally saw Shame last night, I’ve been waiting to see this for a while and because of the the rating for the film and the fact that it hasn’t been shown in my city yet. I had to watch it online so the quality was not as good, but it didn’t take away from the film at all. Which I have to say was a good film I love independent movies and Michael Fassbender so when those two things come together I know there will be a great result. The film is very grim and gritty and the content in the movie is really touchy Brandon Sullivan is a sex addict who gets a visit from his unpredictable sister Missy. So Brandon has to come to terms with his addiction and his chaotic relationship with Missy. Not a easy film to watch at times, but it is a really gripping story. Kind of piss that Michael wasn’t nominated for Oscar!
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:45 pm

reagancharlescook:
Hot Desire, Cold Disdain

Steve McQueen’s “Shame” is an dive into the never ending depths of sadness and destruction. The film provides an explicit account of a troubled sex addict, played with a hollow, numbing ferocity by Michael Fassbender.
Despite the wrenching world created on screen, McQueen’s unapologetic foray into the dark crevasses of human nature is a terrific movie. It is not uplifting, enjoyable or redemptive, all conditions that many people would expect from a superlative cinematic experience. What it manages to be, however, is almost staggeringly human, and unapologetically so.
Shame makes into a lie the universal assumption in movies that orgasms provide a pleasure to be pursued. The film’s opening shot shows Brandon awake in the morning, staring immobile into space. He could be a man prepared to commit suicide. He gets out of bed, goes into the shower and masturbates. It will be the first of his many orgasms, solitary and with company, that day. He never reveals emotion. He lives like a man compelled to follow an inevitable course.
He is cold to people. To prostitutes, to co-workers, to strangers. His shame is masked in privacy.
Brandon lives in a cold, forlorn Manhattan. When he is in a group, he is alone. The sidewalks seem unusually empty. He loves no one, is attracted to no one, is driven to find occasions for orgasm — whether alone or in company hardly seems to matter.
Shame is a memorably caustic film steeped in melancholy. It’s humanity at a low point, but when it comes to the art of film, it is an experience that resonates at the highest level.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:50 pm

incandenza:

Procrastination Theatre: February 16, 2012

I think this might be the Boyfriend’s new favorite movie. He’s been listening to the soundtrack non-stop for two weeks. He got genuinely annoyed with me when I forgot to tell him that its run at our local independent theatre had ended the day before. (If any of y’all have a download link, he might forgive me.)

But here is what I have to say about it: I can’t believe that such a fuss was made out of the nudity in this movie. The nudity itself is completely asexual. Even the sex scenes themselves, which don’t involve full-frontal, are asexual if you’re paying any attention to the movie and Fassbender’s acting at all. So I guess the first comment I have is, how sad that the excellence of such a movie can apparently only be spoken of after we address the fact that the male organ has a total screen time of maybe 30 seconds in it. Shouldn’t the old, white, male Academy be used to seeing that? Maybe Fassbender’s junk just made them jealous. They are pretty old, after all (median age is 62! 14% are under 50! That means a lot of Viagra, I’m guessing.)

Anyway, obligatory anger being over, this is a beautiful film. And it stayed with me. Fassbender’s performance stayed with me. And I know this might sound ridiculous, but I loved the movie and his performance so much for giving me some insight into this condition, for letting me see the prison and the sadness of the sex addict, for putting Brandon up against his boss and negating all of our stereotypes about sex addicts being womanizers or charmers or emotionally abusive. I am just grateful because I feel that this is the kind of movie that breeds compassion in us for people we hadn’t understood or thought about before. In fact, this movie probably actually does everything that The Help pretended to do. And I mean, of course, McQueen is an artist, so you can expect a lot from the formal execution and visual set-up and character within this movie.

And on a technical note: when the porn on Brandon’s computer starts blending in with Sissy’s pleading conversation on the phone to one of her lovers? It’s brilliant. It’s such a subtle way to suggest that they are both addicts, by blending the auditory sound of one with the other, the moans and the pleas together. Stop being so damn smart, McQueen.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:15 pm

http://miraclefucknut.tumblr.com/post/18628155516

Shame: A review

Under a cut for spoilers

So. I finally got to see Shame, after waiting for what, 4 months? And after having to see so many spoilers. I cannot guarantee that this review will be of any use

~

The beginning made me sick, emotionally. I have no idea why. How much ritual is in Brandon’s way. His blank walls. Sex, get up and get clean. Repeat.

Work, sex and porn, this is what his life resolves around.

The way Sissy is introduced is something so unusual. And the way Brandon does not seem to mind seeing his sister naked in the shower and Sissy doesn’t mind either, it either means they are really close or really far apart. And even though Brandon is really mad that his sister simply showed up, he still offers her a place to sleep.

The scene when he leans to listen to his sister crying and begging and him behind a wall hurt. A lot.

The way they talk while standing and waiting for the subway. It’s how siblings talk. It’s so real.

And New York, New York was so well performed by Sissy (Carey), my heart couldn’t do other than clench.

And of course afterwards Sissy sleeps with David, Brandon’s boss. Not only is this invading his life, but also it kind of breaks off his rituals of feeding his addiction when he gets home. She’s having sex in HIS bed, where he usually does all kinds of things. The running scene was so superb done. The running and the music that seems so off for such a scene. But that music is Brandon. That scene speaks for it self.

It all starts to spiral down after that it seems. And when Sissy crawls into bed with Brandon, because she wants to feel close to him and then he shouts and throws her out already shows that he’s on ‘withdrawal’. Such and outburst.

I have to say from there on everything just kind of gets fuzzy because I was so emotionally invested and just it hurt so much.

How Brandon has that date with his colleague and seems actually happy and in a really good mood. But then he cannot help himself and takes her to a hotel to sleep with her. But it doesn’t work for him, you can see how much that disturbs him. But still he stays and invited (buys) another woman because h needs his fix (and in my opinion to show himself that he CAN do it). Still, when there are emotions involved, something does not seem to work.

Afterwards he tells Sissy all these things. All these terrible things. She’s a burden, a parasite. And then he goes away and leaves her all alone.

The following scenes after the scene with Sissy are so intense. The scene in the bar, him being beaten up, finding his fix in a gay club and then that threesome. His really straight forward ‘flirting’ with that woman in the bar, he needed his fix. Fix above it all, no matter what. Not getting this and he had to look for it somewhere else. Basically any fix would be okay. So, a gay club and he knew he’d GET his fix. The threesome afterwards seemed like an overdose, he’d been unable to feed his addiction properly since Sissy turned up, now he was desperate and had to get as much as possible.

The was this is told was so well. We see how that night ends with him all bruised and cut up in the face on the train, and then some flashbacks. So well done.

And when the train stopped and the had to leave it and he sees that the paramedics are there because it seems like somebody threw themselves in front of the train, he sprints home. Home because he knows that it could’ve been Sissy.

That scene. His sterile bathroom, all in white, it all enhanced the look of the blood. I don’t know how to describe the feeling of that scene. It hurt so much and hit so close somehow.

And then in the hospital, how Sissy lies there, wrapped in even more white and he sees those scars on her arms.

The end. It seems so broken off. So without an end, but it was so fitting. Because during the whole film Brandon only showed emotions when he was angry, but now he’s crying. So heart-wrenching.

~

This review is so useless. But I have no idea how to really describe it all.

It was simply so well done. The long shots. How the sex scenes added to the plot.

THE ACTORS! Seriously. Can we please throw Fassbender and Mulligan into a pool of awards? How they portrait that sibling relationship. Everyone who has a sibling knows that even if they pull all kinds of s$#!, they are still family and you will move mountains for them (My sister pulled so much s$#!, she made my parents cry and hurt us all, and still when I was going though a panic attack on Christmas, she did not mind when I curled up on her bed. When I got home after Shame I had to go and hug her.)

This is not a film for everybody. No. People that want action and a final ending and fast cut scenes should not watch this film. Shame has a lot of long drawn scenes and camera cuts that have a depth that is amazing.

I still feel emotionally sick. I couldn’t even really eat dinner, and f&#! am I hungry. I also still feel like crying.

This film is brilliant. Steve McQueen did it once again. Yes. I actually cannot wait to buy it on DvD and watch it again alone and with all the time in the world.

The four months waiting? Worth it!

23 hours ago
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:59 pm

afilmafterfilm:
Shame

I think I just saw more of Michael Fassbender than I did of my ex boyfriend. What a nude-fest. I knew this film about sex addition wasn’t going to be easy and it succeeded in making me feel awkward like a peeping Tom also being watched myself. But I didn’t know it was going to be funny. Only in parts but it gave light relief to the heavy subject matter. It’s one of those films that is on the ‘edge of wrong’ and that you never quite answers all the questions that would explain or excuse the behaviour of him or his sister, which just adds to the mystery and dark nature of the film. Brilliant.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:08 pm

http://www.theweeklyreview.com.au/article-display/Shame/4671

Shame
2.54PM 1-2-2012
Myke Bartlett
Michael Fassbender
SUPPLIED

Film

Shame
Opens February 9,
Rated R18+, 101 minutes

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is charming, handsome and can afford a good suit. He’s also sex-obsessed, spending his nights bedding young women and his days filling his work PC with porn.

We’re never given much reason to like Brandon, but we do. Partly, this is down to his perverse honesty. Director Steve McQueen surrounds him with flawed characters who cling to the illusion of decency. His date Marianne (Nicole Beharie) believes in love despite the evidence, while his boss is convinced he’s a ladies’ man and a family man. But Brandon is a simple creature – he loves sex with the inexorable adoration of a true addict.

Of course, this simplicity comes at the cost of his humanity. Indeed, Brandon seems distressed by anything in the way of an emotional response. He weeps while watching sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) sing and finds his seduction patter shattered on realising he actually likes Marianne. Both moments see him seek solace in his addiction. The more human he feels, the further he runs for shelter.

To McQueen’s credit, the film is fiercely unglamorous, but assembled so artistically that we never feel mired in grimness. Neither does the plentiful sex feel particularly prurient. These are the implied obsessions of our society – where sex is used to sell everything from kids’ clothing to Diet Coke – forced into the open.

In place of any romance, McQueen focuses on the uncomfortably physical relationship between Brandon and his sister. At times moving, at times confronting, theirs is a story of two innocents sullied by – and unable to function in – the adult world. Fassbender and Mulligan evoke the unspoken in a pair of measuredly passionate performances. Neither has yet been better.

Brave and refreshingly frank, this is a remarkable film.
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:52 am

reviewsweekly:
Shame - Movie Review

IMDB:

In New York City, Brandon’s carefully cultivated private life — which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction — is disrupted when his sister Sissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.

RT Rating: Audience 80% Critic 80%

This was a very intriguing movie.

The acting in this movie was superb. Michael Fassbender’s (Hunger, Inglourious Basterds) performance was Oscar-worthy once again yet it received him no recognition from the Academy. His character, Brandon, is an unlikeable sex addict and Fassbender portrays him with seeming ease. Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go, An Education) shines as Fassbender’s sister with suicidal tendencies and a wayward attitude.

The turmoil faced by Brandon creates an astounding unease in the audience that grips on to you as you follow Brandon down the rabbit hole of sex, disturbance, trauma, and a whole lot more. Steve McQueen (Hunger) wrote and directed this film beautifully. Plunging deep into the mania of sex addiction and questioning the soul and sanity of those afflicted with such addictions, this movie is a psychological study of self-loathing and anguish.

Sex and nudity is a commodity easily found throughout this movie that caused an NC-17 rating in the US. Although some will say that there was an excessive amount of nudity and sex depicted through the course of the film, it also appears to be necessary. With each sexual act and each flash of nudity there is a plot function. Whether it be showing Brandon’s lack of control or his plummeting into a downward spiral, there seems to always be more depth than just showing some attractive people in all their glory.

Rating: 8/10

Although I did thoroughly enjoy this film, it definitely is not for everyone.

What did you think of the movie?
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Re: Shame reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:09 am

analyticlens:
Shame

image

Artwork by David “Vyle” Levy

Why is Shame called shame? Certainly not because Michael Fassbender’s character, Brendon, is shameful about sex. He does the deed with the accepted necessity of brushing his teeth or eating. Brendon requires sex to function. No shame there. Brendon does not feel shame or much emotion of any kind because constant sex wards it off.

Shame is the emotion of the sexually abused and this movie screams sexual abuse in every way but words. The scenes go on uncomfortably long, violating the limits of viewers like the boundaries of molest victims. One such scene is the reunion between Brandon and his sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), when Sissy stands nude in the shower before Brendon and they watch each other in silence. When Brendon finally throws her a towel, she doesn’t use it to cover up, but rather pats herself dry, keeping her skin exposed and his eyes on her.

Countless mental health studies show that the most crippling impact of incest and sexual abuse is the shame that victims carry. Shame is the focus of treatment when victims get therapy. In the process of abuse, shame is internalized so that the victim’s identity becomes infused with a sense of badness. Life choices are dictated by this feeling. “I can’t be close to others because I’m bad.” “I’m crap so who cares what I do.” Because shame is so tied to the victim’s sense of who they are, intimate relationships that involve being emotionally close feel dangerous as they risk exposing the victim’s “badness.”

Brendon flirts with having a relationship that could last beyond his three-month threshold, but cannot do it. He literally loses his erection. The intimacy with his charming and candid co-worker, Marianne (Nicole Beharie), brings with it vulnerability and exposure of those parts of himself that Brendon systematically wards off; presumably feelings of self-loathing, disgust, and shame.

His sister too brings closeness and memories that force Brendon into contact with his shame and he hates her for it. When Sissy tells him, hoping to console them both, that they’re “not bad people,” Brendon explodes in anger. He does not want to be reminded. To rid himself of the overwhelming feelings and memories Sissy stirs up, Brendon attacks her verbally. And, to rid himself of the shame he feels for doing that, he takes off on a sex spree.

If sexual abuse is at the core of Brendan’s problems, why does he seek sex when upset? Wouldn’t he avoid it? There are different reasons why compulsive sexuality is often an outcome of sexual abuse, from the way that being sexually stimulated before a child learns to manage their sexual impulses can lead to generally un-modulated sexuality, to a system of trying to stay aroused in order to not feel the negative feelings. Sometimes incest is passed on in families and learned by its members as a way of coping with stress and frustration. For Brendon there may also be a quality of what is clinically termed, “identification with the aggressor.” Though he does not become an abuser, raping or molesting anyone, Brendon seeks the sex out. He takes it from strangers and once he gets his fill, discards them. Because Brendon sees to it that he is never in a passive position, there may be an element of reversing the sexual dynamic so that he feels identified with the powerful position of aggressor rather than the weakness of the aggressed upon.

Of course, we’ll never know the specifics of what happened to Brendon and Sissy and what motivates Brendan’s compulsive sex because the writer/director, Steve McQueen, does not give us this background information. What is clear, at least in my opinion, is that Shame is the story of sexually abused siblings, crippled by what happened to them, struggling to find a way to live with incapacitating shame.
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