Shame

"Extraordinary"

Shame Review


This unflinching, thoughtful drama about sex addiction is made with such skill and honesty that it continually takes us aback. It also features two bold, raw performances that are among the best of this or any other year.

Brandon (Fassbender) is a successful New Yorker who's happier to see a series of random women than to settle down into a relationship. Although he doesn't stop there, indulging also in porn and prostitutes. So when his wayward sister Sissy (Mulligan) shows up needing a place to stay, it kind of puts a crimp in his style. Especially when she hooks up with his married boss (Dale). Soon he begins to doubt himself, feeling a surge of guilt and shame over his private demons. But getting rid of his urges is another matter.

Morgan and McQueen's script refuses to either sensationalise or skirt around the subject, instead diving straight into the characters to see the world through their eyes. Everywhere Brandon looks he sees a suggestion of sex, and he seems unable to stop flirting with the women he meets. When he tries to straighten up his act by going a chaste date with a work colleague (Beharie), he seems like a shy schoolboy way out of his depth.

Fassbender plays each scene just as full-on as the script, baring his soul (and everything else) for the camera as Brandon both indulges in his sexuality and fights against it. It's a thoroughly involving performances, and the fact that we can see Brandon's blind spots makes it even more wrenching. Opposite him, he's matched scene-for-scene by an equally transparent, darkly moving performance from Mulligan. This is easily her best screen work yet, which is saying a lot.

McQueen directs this with an unusual eye, catching scenes from angles we don't expect and playing with New York architecture and geography to set people with or against each other. Thankfully, while the camerawork and music are offbeat and unusual, they don't call attention to themselves, but instead soak us in the atmosphere and situations. Even if the plot stumbles a bit in a sequence that feels oddly moralistic, this still a bracingly inventive film that leaves us thinking.



Shame

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th January 2012

Box Office USA: $4.0M

Budget: $6.5M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight

Production compaines: See-Saw Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 154 Rotten: 42

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Iain Canning,

Starring: as Sissy, as Brandon, as David, as Samantha, as Marianne, Alex Manette as Steven, Elizabeth Masucci as Elizabeth, as cocktail waitress

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.