Mini Movie Review: Shame (2011)


Shame (2011)
Director: Steve McQueen
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale and Nicole Beharie

Shame didn’t hold my attention until about the 15 minute mark when Brandon’s (Michael Fassbender) sister played by Carey Mulligan unexpectedly shows up at his New York apartment and throws a wrench into his cycle of sex addiction. Up until then, the movie is a vignette of emotionally numbing sex acts and shameless shots of Fassbender’s dangling member. My renewed interest wasn’t because of Mulligan’s performance either, she’s not nearly as captivating as the lingering camera shots would suggest. But her character’s off kilter presence is an inadvertent catalyst for Brandon to confront his inner demons, giving this movie a compelling, worthwhile direction. Having said that some of the strongest scenes didn’t involve Mulligan but with Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow). To a certain extent, Beharie’s character sees through the cracks in Brandon’s dysfunctional façade and calls him out on his bullshit in a way that he can respect. She could be the healthiest if not, least destructive relationship in his life if he can only overcome his debilitating aversion to real intimacy.

Steven McQueen’s directorial choices such as slightly going out of focus at Brandon’s moment of climax and objectifying tertiary characters through framing help shape this movie into a thought provoking art film instead of a sensationalistic attempt at one. A technique McQueen uses to intensify the isolating nature of addiction is by confining Brandon; within his apartment, in a subway train, between the streets of New York and towering skyscrapers. This subtle approach doesn’t become evident until one of the final scenes. In their second of three collaborations so far, McQueen has demonstrated a knack for bringing out the very best in Fassbender, a consistently good actor. The lead performance aside, it’s a bit of an overstatement to say Shame is a powerful film rather it’s an unrelenting look beneath the covers of a highly disturbed sex addict.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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About Sidekick Reviews

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Posted on June 29, 2014, in Movies, Review and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Great review. I love McQueen films and Fassbender is a joy to watch

  2. Excellent review. I still need to watch this. The only McQueen film i’ve seen is Hunger

  3. In my opinion, McQueen’s best, and Fassbender. I know 12YAS is more critically acclaimed and such, but this, for me, is far more intriguing. Great post, bud :).

  4. This movie’s a hard one to watch, but it’s totally worth it. Especially since Fassbender just never gives up a single second. Good review.

    • The first part of the movie was challenging for me to watch but then I started to get really into it. Totally agree, it’s worth checking out and Fassbender gives it his all. Thanks Dan!

  5. Cool review yo, my friend’s been nagging me to see this film for AGES but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. But after reading this review I’m definitely gonna try to see it before the year is out.

    • I’ve been meaning to watch this for a long time too but I kept putting it off until now. It’s not the easiest film to get through and the subject matter isn’t for everyone but for me it’s worth seeing. I liked it alot! Thanks man!

  6. Such an excellent but disturbing film. Not one I think I could actually rewatch though.

  7. I have to admit tho I like Fassbender, the disturbing subject matter has put me off from seeing this. I’m not sure I’ll see it to be honest, but I trust that his performance is indeed excellent.

  8. Haven’t seen this one, but I’m a big fan of Michael Fassbender’s work. He’s a very talented actor, and I’m glad to see him getting more attention in Hollywood!

    • I’m a fan of Fassbender’s work too, it’s cool that he’s in blockbusters and smaller indie type art films. I’m looking forward towards whatever upcoming movies he’s in, including Promethesus 2.

  9. Great review. This one seems a little out of my wheelhouse unfortunately. I also must say I like how you handled this mini-review. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to do a mini one like this for a game or TV episode. I always struggle with keeping it short and covering everything I need to. This one came together well.

    • Thanks alot! This originally was supposed to be part of a bigger movie round up post but I didn’t have the heart to write about other movies. I guess that’s why it ended up as a stand alone mini-review.

  10. Thanks. Nicely judged. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in now).

  11. Great review. Haven’t yet watched this in spite of many recommendations. Will see it soon.

  12. Glad you liked the film, it’s such a powerful movie and Fassbender’s performance is simply incredible, for me it’s definitely his best work

  13. Fassbender’s a great actor but McQueen gets the best out of him. Another incredible performance.

  14. Can’t believe I’ve just now seen this post man. Great work, I really look forward to seeing this.

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