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Shame - 3/1/2012 11:13:41 AM   
Empire Admin

 

Posts: 29619
Joined: 29/6/2005
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Post #: 1
A great film - 3/1/2012 11:13:41 AM   
spike2006

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 5/7/2006
Plot;
Brandon Sullivan (Fassbender) is a seemingly successful bachelor living in New York City. He has difficulty with balancing his life with work and addiction. Things are made more difficult when his sister Sissy (Mulligan) unexpectedly arrives at his apartment. Needing a place to stay Brandon reluctantly agrees that she can stay for a few days. Sissy’s presents causes Brandon to struggle further to establish equilibrium in his life.
Review;
Brandon enjoys nothing more than being out looking for his next meaningless one night stand. Whether that is with a girl he picks up in a bar or a prostitute he doesn’t care. He is addicted to internet porn and appears to have little interest in dealing with his problems. Perhaps he doesn’t see his situation as a problem?
However, Brandon is unable to bring his conquests to his apartment as he has an unexpected guest in the form of his sister Sissy. They clearly have a difficult relationship, not seeing one another for months or perhaps longer at a time. When Sissy appears unannounced it appears she is going through a brake up and is finding rejection difficult. The dynamics between Brandon and Sissy are intense and they have clearly been through difficult times in the past however McQueen leaves us guessing at what may have occurred. We are not privy to the back story and this leaves many questions unanswered.
Brandon’s addiction spills over into his working life after his works PC picks up a virus and the companies IT department decide to take a closer look. He is later informed by his arrogant married boss David (James Badge Dale) that his hard driver is ‘dirty’. However, this does not lead to a dismissal. David is more interested in when they will be going on their next night out to pick up women.
Indeed it is on that next night out when David meets the overly flirty Sissy. In a beautiful scene in an upmarket bar Sissy sings a wonderfully slow version of New York, New York. McQ

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Post #: 2
RE: A great film - 5/1/2012 12:39:50 PM   
losthighway


Posts: 3248
Joined: 25/1/2006
From: Manchesterford
REPOSTED FROM THE OTHER SHAME THREAD...

In New York City, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life, which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction, is disrupted when his sister Cissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay... and that really is about your lot! The film sadly drags as the narrative never really has anything driving it forward. It all looks very nice and there is no doubting that Brandon is a seriously lonely individual, but it just never goes anywhere. He goes from one conquest to next to the next and to the next (even going to a gay club at one point)... and when he does attempt something more meaningful he can't perform so literally hits rock bottom in the film's most graphic orgy scene, which ends with the look on his face as he cums... and it's not a happy face! The film is very sad and despite some folks laughing at certain moments, I do wonder if they missed the point that these scenes were not meant to be amusing, they were highlighting Brandon's all-consuming addiction. There was a director Q&A after the showing but I didn't hang around - i'm afraid i didn't think the film warranted further dissection, it just wasn't that good! It's released in the UK on 13th January 2012 but I can't say I would recommend seeing it at the cinema, the fact it drags so often makes me think this is one best kept for DVD/BR.

Overall: Somewhat lacking...3/5


_____________________________

The secret to becoming a star is knowing how to behave like one.

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Post #: 3
RE: A great film - 5/1/2012 6:35:06 PM   
nhassell


Posts: 237
Joined: 23/8/2009
Saw it ages ago. It was a great film, no doubt about that, but just couldn't live up to the hype. Fassbender was amazing, though.

_____________________________

This Is The End - ***
Man Of Steel - ***
The Great Gatsby - ***
Iron Man 3 - ***
Evil Dead - ***

(in reply to losthighway)
Post #: 4
How refreshing? - 13/1/2012 3:52:08 PM   
Nicky C

 

Posts: 695
Joined: 31/5/2006
I may go and see this again, just because it's the first film that's really made me think in ages. Graphic, but never exploitative, heartfelt but never heartwarming, empathetic without being sympathetic and, most importantly, riveting from start to finish. BTW, the Daily Mail review is hilarious. Totally missed the point and, seemingly, half the actual movie.

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Post #: 5
RE: How refreshing? - 14/1/2012 12:58:39 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Excellent tale about the debilitating nature of addiction & the personal shame (see what I did there?) that follows.

Fassbender & Mulligan are brilliant. McQueen's directorial hand (like Hunger) is sublime as well.

Riveting stuff & my favourite film of the year so far; but given the list only includes the Iron Lady, Goon & War Horse that's not really saying much at the moment.

4/5

_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Nicky C)
Post #: 6
thought it was excellent - 15/1/2012 9:45:36 PM   
tysmuse

 

Posts: 377
Joined: 24/9/2007
and very well-made. Fassbender is truly superb. Almost want to give it 5 stars.

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Post #: 7
Overrated... - 15/1/2012 10:59:55 PM   
jace007


Posts: 68
Joined: 14/5/2007
Don't believe the hype surrounding Shame. If Michael Fassbender wasn't an actor, he'd certainly carve out a living as a porn star (he's got the name for it!) And judging by his non-prosthetic manhood, it's safe to say that Professor Xavier has more than just Magneto's regular helmet to worry about!

The story of a man addicted to sex isn't new and the moment when Brandon (Fass) meets up with his sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan looking way hotter as a blonde), in what has to be one of cinemas most uncomfortable screen encounters, there really is no point or plot afterwards. Yes, we get to be a voyeur on the journey, but they clearly don't take that aspect far enough with Brandon's female eye candy. The highlights of Shame are James Badge Dale, as Brandon's boss who tries to score with chicks at bars and reading the riot act about hardcore porn on the company hard drive (there is a joke there, right?) The other surprise was Mulligan's singing, my God! She buries hacks such as Girls Aloud and Tulisa Contostavlos in seconds and her version of Sinatra's New York is something my ipod beckons for.

Shame is far too aware of its own style-and-no-substance approach and can drag out with unnecessary pee-pee shots and jogging. And Fassbender's dong. Steve McQueen is a good director but he's no Nicolas Winding Refn of Drive. What he does best is getting top notch performances from the cast. Ultimately, the message of the film is: if you're addicted to something, you'll become bored of it and try a new kick and pretty much like Shame, by the time you get to the end, you won't give a fuck either as you've become so desensitised. If you want to want to see a man addicted to sex, look no further than Hank Moody in Show Time's Californication. It's funnier and says a lot more in 30 mins than it took for Shame's end credits to appear.

< Message edited by jace007 -- 15/1/2012 11:01:51 PM >

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Post #: 8
Republic of loose should have been on the soundt... - 18/1/2012 7:36:13 PM   
rgod

 

Posts: 40
Joined: 19/5/2010
From: Ireland
Shame : Ross says 4 stars , Not that a star counts for much these days . The over abundance of them seems to imply “ Steer clear of this Film “ An effect that Crickets have not figured out yet for being Over Criketical . LOL

Deeply Moving , Huge Impact, One of Michael Fassbenders Best performances to Date ? Is he Dating ? or is it a Little bit too Debauched with Gratuitous Mere Nudity?A single white male in a single white apartment ( Apologies for the racism , Others consider that descriptive writing ) .

Tackles subjects of Isolation ,relationships , Marriages , Promiscuity ,Family bonds and Other Tear “ Jerking “ observations . Not wanting to be one of”those “ types of guys who want to view it on his Toddumious I had a Mandate instead with an old friend of mine , At least I would not be ejected for arousing suspicion while recording Mental Images . LOL

I heard a lot of mixed reviews ,some suggesting the pornographic nature of it .
I Love Nature , Naturally so this peeked my Interest. Being a fellow pleasure seeking Enthusiast. Now there is a New rule enforced to patrons about bringing their own Munchies and beverages to these performances “ Surely the industry has been hit hard enough without forcing customers to stretch whatever Imaginary budgets they are on ? Forced to Purchase over priced products from a Limited Selection .

So being an Internet and Junk food Addict Myself ( Still Seeking help with other distractions by the way ,LOL ) How shall I phrase this ? So do you think a person should be punished for eating Unhealthily and Prolonged internet Use .Or is Obesity and being socially Awkwardness punishment enoug

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Post #: 9
Republic of loose should have been on the soundt... - 18/1/2012 7:36:15 PM   
rgod

 

Posts: 40
Joined: 19/5/2010
From: Ireland
Shame : Ross says 4 stars , Not that a star counts for much these days . The over abundance of them seems to imply “ Steer clear of this Film “ An effect that Crickets have not figured out yet for being Over Criketical . LOL

Deeply Moving , Huge Impact, One of Michael Fassbenders Best performances to Date ? Is he Dating ? or is it a Little bit too Debauched with Gratuitous Mere Nudity?A single white male in a single white apartment ( Apologies for the racism , Others consider that descriptive writing ) .

Tackles subjects of Isolation ,relationships , Marriages , Promiscuity ,Family bonds and Other Tear “ Jerking “ observations . Not wanting to be one of”those “ types of guys who want to view it on his Toddumious I had a Mandate instead with an old friend of mine , At least I would not be ejected for arousing suspicion while recording Mental Images . LOL

I heard a lot of mixed reviews ,some suggesting the pornographic nature of it .
I Love Nature , Naturally so this peeked my Interest. Being a fellow pleasure seeking Enthusiast. Now there is a New rule enforced to patrons about bringing their own Munchies and beverages to these performances “ Surely the industry has been hit hard enough without forcing customers to stretch whatever Imaginary budgets they are on ? Forced to Purchase over priced products from a Limited Selection .

So being an Internet and Junk food Addict Myself ( Still Seeking help with other distractions by the way ,LOL ) How shall I phrase this ? So do you think a person should be punished for eating Unhealthily and Prolonged internet Use .Or is Obesity and being socially Awkwardness punishment enoug

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 10
Republic of loose should have been on the soundt... - 18/1/2012 7:36:17 PM   
rgod

 

Posts: 40
Joined: 19/5/2010
From: Ireland
Shame : Ross says 4 stars , Not that a star counts for much these days . The over abundance of them seems to imply “ Steer clear of this Film “ An effect that Crickets have not figured out yet for being Over Criketical . LOL

Deeply Moving , Huge Impact, One of Michael Fassbenders Best performances to Date ? Is he Dating ? or is it a Little bit too Debauched with Gratuitous Mere Nudity?A single white male in a single white apartment ( Apologies for the racism , Others consider that descriptive writing ) .

Tackles subjects of Isolation ,relationships , Marriages , Promiscuity ,Family bonds and Other Tear “ Jerking “ observations . Not wanting to be one of”those “ types of guys who want to view it on his Toddumious I had a Mandate instead with an old friend of mine , At least I would not be ejected for arousing suspicion while recording Mental Images . LOL

I heard a lot of mixed reviews ,some suggesting the pornographic nature of it .
I Love Nature , Naturally so this peeked my Interest. Being a fellow pleasure seeking Enthusiast. Now there is a New rule enforced to patrons about bringing their own Munchies and beverages to these performances “ Surely the industry has been hit hard enough without forcing customers to stretch whatever Imaginary budgets they are on ? Forced to Purchase over priced products from a Limited Selection .

So being an Internet and Junk food Addict Myself ( Still Seeking help with other distractions by the way ,LOL ) How shall I phrase this ? So do you think a person should be punished for eating Unhealthily and Prolonged internet Use .Or is Obesity and being socially Awkwardness punishment enoug

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 11
Republic of loose should have been on the soundt... - 18/1/2012 7:36:20 PM   
rgod

 

Posts: 40
Joined: 19/5/2010
From: Ireland
Shame : Ross says 4 stars , Not that a star counts for much these days . The over abundance of them seems to imply “ Steer clear of this Film “ An effect that Crickets have not figured out yet for being Over Criketical . LOL

Deeply Moving , Huge Impact, One of Michael Fassbenders Best performances to Date ? Is he Dating ? or is it a Little bit too Debauched with Gratuitous Mere Nudity?A single white male in a single white apartment ( Apologies for the racism , Others consider that descriptive writing ) .

Tackles subjects of Isolation ,relationships , Marriages , Promiscuity ,Family bonds and Other Tear “ Jerking “ observations . Not wanting to be one of”those “ types of guys who want to view it on his Toddumious I had a Mandate instead with an old friend of mine , At least I would not be ejected for arousing suspicion while recording Mental Images . LOL

I heard a lot of mixed reviews ,some suggesting the pornographic nature of it .
I Love Nature , Naturally so this peeked my Interest. Being a fellow pleasure seeking Enthusiast. Now there is a New rule enforced to patrons about bringing their own Munchies and beverages to these performances “ Surely the industry has been hit hard enough without forcing customers to stretch whatever Imaginary budgets they are on ? Forced to Purchase over priced products from a Limited Selection .

So being an Internet and Junk food Addict Myself ( Still Seeking help with other distractions by the way ,LOL ) How shall I phrase this ? So do you think a person should be punished for eating Unhealthily and Prolonged internet Use .Or is Obesity and being socially Awkwardness punishment enoug

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 12
Republic of loose should have been on the soundt... - 18/1/2012 7:36:23 PM   
rgod

 

Posts: 40
Joined: 19/5/2010
From: Ireland
Shame : Ross says 4 stars , Not that a star counts for much these days . The over abundance of them seems to imply “ Steer clear of this Film “ An effect that Crickets have not figured out yet for being Over Criketical . LOL

Deeply Moving , Huge Impact, One of Michael Fassbenders Best performances to Date ? Is he Dating ? or is it a Little bit too Debauched with Gratuitous Mere Nudity?A single white male in a single white apartment ( Apologies for the racism , Others consider that descriptive writing ) .

Tackles subjects of Isolation ,relationships , Marriages , Promiscuity ,Family bonds and Other Tear “ Jerking “ observations . Not wanting to be one of”those “ types of guys who want to view it on his Toddumious I had a Mandate instead with an old friend of mine , At least I would not be ejected for arousing suspicion while recording Mental Images . LOL

I heard a lot of mixed reviews ,some suggesting the pornographic nature of it .
I Love Nature , Naturally so this peeked my Interest. Being a fellow pleasure seeking Enthusiast. Now there is a New rule enforced to patrons about bringing their own Munchies and beverages to these performances “ Surely the industry has been hit hard enough without forcing customers to stretch whatever Imaginary budgets they are on ? Forced to Purchase over priced products from a Limited Selection .

So being an Internet and Junk food Addict Myself ( Still Seeking help with other distractions by the way ,LOL ) How shall I phrase this ? So do you think a person should be punished for eating Unhealthily and Prolonged internet Use .Or is Obesity and being socially Awkwardness punishment enoug

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 13
Republic of loose should have been on the soundt... - 18/1/2012 7:36:27 PM   
rgod

 

Posts: 40
Joined: 19/5/2010
From: Ireland
Shame : Ross says 4 stars , Not that a star counts for much these days . The over abundance of them seems to imply “ Steer clear of this Film “ An effect that Crickets have not figured out yet for being Over Criketical . LOL

Deeply Moving , Huge Impact, One of Michael Fassbenders Best performances to Date ? Is he Dating ? or is it a Little bit too Debauched with Gratuitous Mere Nudity?A single white male in a single white apartment ( Apologies for the racism , Others consider that descriptive writing ) .

Tackles subjects of Isolation ,relationships , Marriages , Promiscuity ,Family bonds and Other Tear “ Jerking “ observations . Not wanting to be one of”those “ types of guys who want to view it on his Toddumious I had a Mandate instead with an old friend of mine , At least I would not be ejected for arousing suspicion while recording Mental Images . LOL

I heard a lot of mixed reviews ,some suggesting the pornographic nature of it .
I Love Nature , Naturally so this peeked my Interest. Being a fellow pleasure seeking Enthusiast. Now there is a New rule enforced to patrons about bringing their own Munchies and beverages to these performances “ Surely the industry has been hit hard enough without forcing customers to stretch whatever Imaginary budgets they are on ? Forced to Purchase over priced products from a Limited Selection .

So being an Internet and Junk food Addict Myself ( Still Seeking help with other distractions by the way ,LOL ) How shall I phrase this ? So do you think a person should be punished for eating Unhealthily and Prolonged internet Use .Or is Obesity and being socially Awkwardness punishment enoug

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 14
What a SHAME!!! - 19/1/2012 8:53:02 PM   
Ramone87

 

Posts: 70
Joined: 24/12/2011
Ok first and foremost if it were not for Michael Fassbender's amazing performance or Carey Mulligan this film would not hold it's interest in you for over 2 hours.

At times it felt dated, and many scenes for me did not ring true. Without revealing to many spoliers his decent into male angst and sex addiction / self destruction felt exploitative, pretentious and over-cooked, this due to the directors need to stay that little bit TOO LONG in those countless sex scenes. Ok we get the message; HE LIKES SEX ALLOT!!!!

All the subtleness and reality just ebbs through Fassbender; he litlerally holds this film together with Carey Mulligan as his over dependant sister; pushing him that closer and closer over the edge. There are some poigniant scenes as he goes about his everyday life; connecting with others then dis-connecting on purpose, but we have all been here before in other modern male alienation dramas.

Ok, only worth watching for Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan and that's it really!

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Post #: 15
RE: What a SHAME!!! - 27/1/2012 5:56:28 PM   
princessa


Posts: 734
Joined: 6/6/2006
I would give this 2/5 stars.  Could have been an interesting film but it doesn't really have much of a plot.  The performances are great but this got so hyped up that it can't really live up to it.



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Post #: 16
RE: What a SHAME!!! - 31/1/2012 3:26:54 PM   
JIm R

 

Posts: 9185
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Surrey
Saw this on Friday as part of my birthday weekend and went to see it with Emyr and it was a mesmeric piece of film making, proving that Hunger was certainly no fluke. The unravelling of the central character, played by Fassbender (omnipresent currently but deservedly so) was part engaging, horrifying, sad, complex, and above all you found a man struggling to find and establish a personality for himself in his own life outside that of an addicted skeletol being whose skin does not fit.

Without giving too much away, the entrance of his sister in New York upon re-entering his life changes everything on his view of the world around him, forced to confront his own soul less excistence beyond meeting woman after woman for sexual gratification but never finding love from any encounter, indeed the pursuit of love repels until.....

It is a film as much about one's view of engaging with your mind as it is with your body, what is love ? how is love amongst our moral conscience affecting our will to engage with those closest to us and how we embody where we fit in the larger scheme of life.

Startling lead performances, cinematography so adept and clean you could wish to hold each shot for a lifetime. A beautiful piece of film making, it is not about sex, it is a film about identity and self proclamation of the human need to be wanted by ourselves and those who we would regard closest to us and whether one can ever break from a character or does our personna have to throttle our own desires.

Five Stars.

(in reply to princessa)
Post #: 17
RE: Shame - 1/2/2012 5:35:24 PM   
jafar.iqbal

 

Posts: 5
Joined: 12/5/2009
A woman sits on the subway, minding her own business, when her eyes meet with the stranger sitting opposite. He is handsome, sexy, and he stares at her, smiling. Shyly, she smiles back. He looks at her – her eyes, her lips, her bare thighs, back at her eyes – still, staring. The smile slowly turns into a grimace. Still staring. She becomes uncomfortable, tries to ignore him. Still staring. The train begins to stop. Still staring. The doors open. Still staring. The woman gets up and quickly leaves the train. The man follows. She paces up the stairs and he paces after, fighting through the crowds of people to get to her. Somehow, she manages to get away. He pivots on the spot, searching desperately for her in the sea of faces. Gone. He looks up to the ceiling, defeated. She runs as fast as she can. She has survived.

Sound like a scene lifted from a horror movie? That's exactly what Shame is. A horror movie.

I'd been wanting to see Shame for bloody ages now, but something always got in the way. But I finally got my chance this afternoon. I knew a few things already – that this was about Michael Fassbender playing a sex addict, and Carey Mulligan playing his sister. And that it was very intense, and quite depressing. But it was one other rumour that I wished was true. That Shame was a fantastic film. And, hey, the rumour was true!

When I watch a movie that I love, I tend to get all gushy. I'm guilty of it, I know, just read my review of The Artist. I'm gonna try not to get gushy, but it's hard, because I loved it so much. My favourite movies are the ones that really challenge you as a viewer, and that's what this film does. It's not even the disturbing nature of some of the scenes, which are challenging, of course. It's director Steve McQueen's attempt to get us to feel sorry for this man, this sex-obsessed man who should be ridiculed, that fascinated me. How do you get sympathy from a man like that? Simple. You bring in the sister.

But let's leave the sister for a minute, and talk about Michael Fassbender, who plays lead Brandon. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say he is one of the best actors working today. He's fucking amazing. We see whole emotions pass through his face with the flicker of an eyelid, the slight tremble of his lips, as subtly as that. And we are drawn to him; we don't like what he does, but we understand, in some weird twisted way. We think we should hate him; we want to help him instead. And there is one moment, when Brandon seems to receive genuine romantic affection, and he can't cope. And you shake your head. That is a testament to the script, the direction and the performance. Even at his lowest, we're there with him.

But one crucial element of the film helps the sex addict get some sympathy from us: that sister. Cissy, played by Carey Mulligan, arrives in the film and disrupts her brother's private world. The intimacy of the relationship is deliberately ambiguous, but these two siblings love each other, and it's both beautiful and heartbreaking. I think Fassbender won a few awards for this film but, really, Mulligan is the stronger performer here. You talk about magnetism: she oozes it. Cissy is just as broken and fucked up as Brandon is. Their relationship is the only real one either character has, and that need for each other is expertly portrayed by both actors, but Mulligan especially.

But like I say, this is a horror movie. It's Jekyll turning into Hyde. It's a man not wanting to embrace the evil inside him, but not strong enough to fight it. And as soon as he stops fighting, he becomes a beast. The sex scenes are not sexy, they are mechanical and painful. And things continue to get painful, until Brandon decides to take a stand. Whether the beast is eventually tamed, I'll let you watch and judge for yourself. I will say that the climax is perhaps not as climactic as I would have liked, that final crescendo just wasn't high enough, but I can see why McQueen chose to do it that way. Not what I'd done, but I'm not a successful Hollywood director (yet).

Okay, yes, I know, I gushed. I'm sorry. But this is a good film, with two brilliant performances, that keeps you thinking about it for a while. You also see a lot of Fassbender's firetruck, and a little bit of Mulligan's ladygarden. If that doesn't make you want to go, nothing will!



< Message edited by elab49 -- 1/2/2012 6:49:19 PM >

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Post #: 18
RE: Shame - 3/2/2012 8:34:10 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
The subject of personal addiction is certainly nothing new to fiction film. To highlight some of the stronger moments from the past; Kubrick dedicated an entire work to the adrenaline rush felt by committing acts of violence. Danny Boyle (much to the detestation of Eric Clapton) dared to display both the euphoria & despair experienced by a group of Edinburgh-based junkies in equal measure. Whilst Ken Loach sensitively portrayed the debilitating nature of alcoholism and the hardship one faces in overcoming those specific personal demons on the road to rehabilitation.

Over the years; we've seen cinema tackle the chastising nature that drink, drugs, violence & other forms of vice can have over the mindset or well-being of an individual in a number of forms, genres and narratives. One concept of addiction that has remained mostly untouched from critique however (in a serious manner anyway) is the concept of sex. When it has been tackled before, it has largely been done so in a sort of celebratory, glossy and nauseating manner typified by bawdy comedies (see the appalling Josh Hartnett-led 40 Days & 40 Nights). Steve McQueen's Shame on the other hand, whilst not necessarily immune from wry humour, has no intention of playing it for laughs - even if some of us might snort at the very idea of it being christened as a potential addiction in the first place (see MSN's pig-ignorant feature on that very question & the corresponding trolling that follows).

The truth is; whether it's sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, sausage rolls or some other glorious yet unhealthy thing when consumed in obscene quantities; anything and everything has the power to become addictive (a gentleman in the far-east didn't die of dehydration playing World Of Warcraft because he was lazy - although after failing to recognise the importance of both toilet and food / drink breaks I suspect he probably was a moron), so in other words, the question of whether or not sex can be deemed one is irrelevant. Additionally, Shame is not really even a film about sex addiction, but a film about addiction itself.

Portraying this circumstance comes in the form of Michael Fassbender's Brandon; a good looking, relatively successful bachelor accustomed to sharp suits, immaculate apartments and trendy drinking establishments sound-tracked by Chet Baker's playful jazz arrangements and populated by the high-flying business types who tend to dominate Manhattan's commercial infrastructure. Underneath Brandon's materialistic motifs however is a relentless lustful desire for release - manifested in the early stages by his liking for home-visiting prostitutes, frequent trips to a bathroom cubicle, casual sex with a stranger underneath a bridge and most tellingly of all, a subway encounter that flips from flirtation to something more predatory in a matter of seconds.

Initially; Brandon appears to revel in his actions, but the re-introduction of his estranged & damaged sister Sissy into his life (a superb Carey Mulligan - the best she's been since An Education & how Bafta acknowledged her largely insignificant role in Drive rather than this boggles the mind) slowly begins to change that circumstance, inadvertently holding up a mirror to himself and inspiring him to face up to the idea that he may have a problem.

In certain hands; the set-up of Shame would then follow on into the realm of redemption story, but like his debut feature Hunger, it's ultimately debilitation rather than rehabilitation McQueen is interested in. This is signified by the presence of Marianne (Nicole Beharie), a woman Brandon identifies as potential salvation from his traditional approach to both sex & relationships and makes a conscious effort to break out of his old habits in the attempt to make a connection with her that's something more than pure physicality. The scenes between the pair resemble the only exchanges Brandon has with anyone that could be deemed playful and in a film full of sex scenes, their eventual physical embrace is the only one in Shame that resembles something that could be considered erotic. It's also the most tragic as it cements the notion that Brandon, no matter how hard he wishes or tries, cannot separate himself from the lustful cravings his body demands.

Whilst McQueen's directorial hand is exquisite in constructing the various set-pieces throughout, it's the performance of Fassbender that truly makes Shame essential viewing. Much like his breakthrough role as IRA ringleader Bobby Sands in Hunger, it's an extraordinary depiction of body and mind that's deserving of the highest awards recognition going (although given the Oscar politics it's hardly surprising he wasn't recognized by the academy). This is best represented in a devastating scene in the midst of a night of debauchery when Brandon embarks on a threesome, the complete despair awash on his face in the moment of climax is not only the first time the mask well & truly comes off, it's also both a heart-breaking moment and a truly phenomenal piece of acting.

The common thoughts from those less enthusiastic about Shame have pointed its failings to being down to a lack of a plot, an absence of definition or because it's too uncomfortable to watch; but I would suggest all three factors are more down to personal preference rather than objective criticism. A film about personal addiction has a responsibility to focus on the mindset of those who are suffering from it - not about how a person with that condition responds to a series of deliberately contrived story incidents. It is a film that frequently plays on suggestion rather than explanation (specifically the background to Brandon & Missy's relationship) and that should not be confused with plot-holes. In fact, one of the strengths of its ambiguous nature is represented at the very end of the film as it comes full circle - the subway scene is essentially returned to, stating which side of the fence the object of Brandon's affections has now sided with yet leaves it up to the viewer whether he has managed to properly digest his experiences or whether his previous characteristics will continue to dominate his decision-making. Finally; given it's also a film representing sex addiction, it's also quite rightly going to be a challenging viewing experience - but one that's justified in its graphic display as opposed to something needlessly explicit like Enter The Void or grotesque like A Serbian Film.

That's not to say however that it's a flawless work. Somewhere between Brandon's night of debauchery and the closing moments, it loses confidence in the strengths of its convictions by adding some needless melodrama which threaten to undo all the good work that's come before - building to a breakdown sequence that had already been perfectly articulated during the threesome and in affect, dilutes that scenes' significance. That one misstep however shouldn't cause one to forget that Shame overall couldn't be considered as anything other than a triumph - a subtle, intelligently crafted work that reinforces McQueen as one of the most exciting and interesting British directors working today and along with the talents of Fassbender, have suggested a film-making partnership of auteur and actor that could rank proudly alongside the likes of Herzog & Kinski or Scorsese & De Niro over the course of time. It's by no means a comfortable watch, but many of the truly best films never are.

4/5

_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to jafar.iqbal)
Post #: 19
RE: Shame - 5/2/2012 4:12:07 PM   
spamandham

 

Posts: 521
Joined: 27/11/2008
Very over hyped this one; the only notable things about it are the two main performances, making it feel like oscar bait. Fassbender is even more impressive considering he is lumbered with a one dimensional character we are blatantly supposed to pity.

I don't see many viewers being able to sympathise with a character who is a good looking affluent new yorker subjected to the horrors of sleeping with several attractive young women. First world problems, yo.



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Post #: 20
A Lacking Concept - 12/4/2012 7:00:01 PM   
AlwaysRight

 

Posts: 1
Joined: 12/4/2012
'Spoiler alert'. Overall, the acting is brilliant however the concept of the film fails to engage the audience on a strong emotional level for two reasons.

When by the end of the film Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is gripping his hair in the pouring rain shaking in despair at his situation...you just don't care. You feel a slither of sympathy for him because he is such a sorry and pathetic character but this is pretty weak. It isn't Fassbender's fault that an emotional connection isn't created, it's just the concept of the film doesn't allow this, who in their right mind would have sympathy for a wealthy, handsome man who has absolutely gorgeous girls pick him up at bars. But then it is not the point of the film to feel sorry for him, it is just taking a look at what an out of control sex addict's life is like in New York. But It's all very vain and superficial, the concept is just lacking something.

Steve Mcqueen directs the film well by creating a sinister, uneasy feeling about Brandon's lifestyle, but where Brandon's level of turmoil has come from, why he is so on edge with his sister etc, isn't fully explored.

Carey Mulligan's part isn't big enough. There should have been more lengthy dialogue between Brandon and Sissy to help build upon a greater understanding of Sissy. Yes she is supposed to be enigmatic and empty, but it would have been very fulfilling to draw her closer to the audience through more scenes.

It is a good movie and definitely original but its concept hinders it from being a cult movie or an all time classic. It's like a poor version of American Psycho but without the killing or comedy.

< Message edited by AlwaysRight -- 12/4/2012 7:02:24 PM >

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Post #: 21
Shame Review - 11/5/2012 12:48:58 PM   
the film man

 

Posts: 605
Joined: 13/10/2010
Boasting stellar performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, Shame is a powerful plunge into the mania of addiction affliction.

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Post #: 22
Shame Review - 11/5/2012 12:49:00 PM   
the film man

 

Posts: 605
Joined: 13/10/2010
Boasting stellar performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, Shame is a powerful plunge into the mania of addiction affliction.

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Post #: 23
Good but not great. - 12/6/2012 2:44:47 PM   
Coyleone


Posts: 567
Joined: 13/10/2008
I thought this was a good film, but there wasn't anything that made me feel sorry or pity the lead character which I think was the whole point. Fassbender is incredible though, and does wonders with the character. Mulligan is also amazing in her role. It was slow paced but I found myself never being able to look away. There was just some connection lacking for me despite the great performances. The very last scene and the first scene were the best of the movie.

3/5

< Message edited by Coyleone -- 12/6/2012 2:45:14 PM >

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Post #: 24
RE: Good but not great. - 29/7/2012 11:25:13 PM   
OPEN YOUR EYES

 

Posts: 4381
Joined: 5/2/2012
Finally got round to see this film and,overall, I was impressed.

I read some sniffy reviews at the time,some claiming the film to be a "soft-core porn film with a conscious" which I felt was terribly harsh.

Fassbender was as consistently brilliant as he has been in ,arguably,all of his films while Mulligans character began to ever grow into the film as Fassbenders disillusioned and ,also, sexually,morally troubled sister.

The films story was greatly worked and its sexual realism concerning these two particular characters lives was captured both physically powerful and in moments of great subtlety and sadness.

4/5

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Post #: 25
RE: Good but not great. - 23/8/2012 12:05:46 PM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19049
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
The more I think about this film, the less it stays with me. I think the visual cliche of the final act helps me to see this as a well acted, but slightly empty film with nothing that new to say. Sex addication is treated like other addictions and maybe that is the point - but that story of the fall into hell has been told so many times now.

That said, it is still very worthwhile and for the performances alone, is worth a rental at least.

_____________________________

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


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Post #: 26
Sobering, But Ultimately Rather Vapid Piece - 19/10/2012 1:50:17 AM   
blaud


Posts: 721
Joined: 13/12/2007
Shame has two things: a concept that is interesting in its' own right. Comprising a plotline that is something of an intense sexual journey story featuring Fassbender (who is, incidently, giving the defining performance of his career thus far), we delve into a bizarre and emotional merging of his life and his libido, and for the most part, I'd say the concept holds water. However, the second element shame has EXTREME self-indulgence. It's the production, which is particularly strong particularly for a relative newcomer like McQueen. No, it's the sloppy structure the clumsily pastes together the provocative bits so the film ends up looking like one completely irrelevant montage made up of (mostly) rather explicit sex scenes. This would be fine, but because the rest of the story lacks any real substance behind it's emotional facade. Pretty to look at? For the most part. But nothing else, not even the barebones style of plotting that Shame traffics in, can save it from looking anything more than a remix of Eyes Wide Shut with all the good ideas left out. in The result: Fassbender is wasted in a film that looks competant, but ultimately fails on too many levels, including pacing, structure in general, and generally, meaning

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Post #: 27
Lame - 30/10/2012 3:08:27 PM   
atom_band

 

Posts: 14
Joined: 12/7/2012
From: South Africa
Hunger was stunning. Shame on the other hand is middle brow - a predictable character study that fails to impress.

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Post #: 28
Shame on the four stars - 15/1/2013 4:57:56 PM   
Dillon the Villain

 

Posts: 6
Joined: 14/1/2009
Beautiful to look at at times; the scenery and Fassbender. intriguing to follow at times - the rendition of New York New York has to rate as a classic. BUT....what exactly was the point of Shame other than to indulge in Fassbender's physical beauty and show how damaged humans can become. Enjoyable, NO, remarkable and controversial, YES, a film.....not sure.

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Post #: 29
RE: Shame - 16/2/2013 12:33:47 AM   
Biggus


Posts: 7638
Joined: 2/10/2005
From: Not Local
The second collaboration between erstwhile artist/prodigal filmmaker Steve McQueen and Irish wunderkind Michael Fassbender held much promise on release and over-delivered without question.

Fassbender stars as Brandon, a man whose life to his work colleagues is a straightforward one of the daily office grind coupled with martinis and embarrassing attempts at pulling by night. But in reality Brandon is a self-loathing, pitiful sex addict whose inability to nurture a genuine human relationship marks him out as the Big Apple’s loneliest inhabitant since Travis Bickle got his cab licence. In fact a De Niro/Scorsese analogy wouldn’t be totally unfounded as it’s always a joy to see two artists clearly inspiring the best in each other. Fassbender and McQueen’s first film Hunger was a restrained yet piercing work which resonated long after the credits. More so is true of Shame though. Hunger’s centrepiece was a 17 minute unbroken shot between Fassbender and Liam Cunningham and with Shame (but not shame) McQueen has embellished this technique further without being self-indulgent. Scenes such as Brandon’s first date with a colleague are played out in real-time, fully allowing for the awkwardness of such a situation to breathe and ring true with the viewer, exposing more character in 10 seconds of footage than Michael Bay manages in 2 hours of ‘frame-f**king’.

Plot-wise Brandon leads a very controlled life which allows him to indulge in his addictions to pornography and prostitutes but it is disrupted following the arrival of his free-spirited sister Sissy, stunningly played by the continually impressive Carey Mulligan. Brandon’s frustrations with his own self-esteem rising to the surface and his attempts to engage with people on an emotional level provide a brilliantly underplayed series of scenes which allows Fassbender to elicit equal levels of revulsion and sympathy from the viewer.

The extended one-take sequences in the film work perfectly and never feel over-stretched. They add an improvised feel to the story but crucially not for a second do you feel McQueen is anything other than in total control. The sex scenes, while graphic, are in no way erotic and feel almost like a painful reduction of Brandon’s soul with each encounter. The quiet contemplative scenes which follow are immeasurably aided by Harry Escott’s minimalist and haunting piano score.

If Hunger was a ‘calling card’ film then Shame marks the full-blown arrival of one of this country’s major directorial talents and an actor at the height of his powers displaying he is as comfortable in art house cinema as he is in the summer blockbuster.

_____________________________

"They offered me a hundred grand. You wanna know something? When I found out I'd get my hands on you, I said I'd do it for nothing."

http://fletchsworldoffilm.wordpress.com/

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Post #: 30
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