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Driven by a brilliant and ferocious performance by Michael Fassbender, Shame tells the riveting story of Brandon; a handsome New York businessman with a dark and destructive secret. His solitary existence is shaken by the unexpected arrival of his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan, An Education), another damaged soul who brings memories of a painful shared past. Graphic, highly provocative and undeniably powerful, Shame is a devastating and thought-provoking cinematic experience.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 197
- Fresh: 155
- Rotten: 42
- Average Rating: 7.4/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Few filmmakers have plumbed the soul-churning depths of sexual addiction as fearlessly as British director Steve McQueen has in Shame.
Rotten: The film's numb attitude assumes that Brandon's problem is beyond reach or rescue. So why are we watching, except for high-tone misery and something close to pornography?
Fresh: [Fassbender is] so good as a man completely lost to his baser impulses that it makes "Shame" worth sitting through. Enjoying? That's a relative term. But you'll certainly appreciate it.
Fresh: It is hard not to use an excess of superlatives for Shame, and it is impossible to avoid the chestnut "it won't be for everybody". It's dark, even brutal, and it makes you examine parts of your own psyche that you might not love to dwell on.
With "Shame", Steve McQueen has created a dark, harrowing gem that'll linger with you long after the end credits stop rolling. Michael Fassbender owns the lead role as Brandon, a deeply troubled man with a compulsive addiction to sex. His character is filled with so much depth and emotional intensity, it's impossible not to mistake him for a real, living person at times. Co-star Carey Mulligan also brings a remarkable sense of realism to her role as Brandon's younger sister. Their stellar performances, combined with a fearless screenplay and tense dialogue, are what make this film all the more believable and haunting as its premise suggests. It's a shame that it didn't end up getting nominated for a single Oscar this year. But then again, I suppose that the movie's highly provocative material was just too much for the Academy to handle in the first place. Personally, I really admired the fact that McQueen chose to take several unconventional creative risks in order to create a truly memorable film experience. And in the end, it definitely paid off. If you're the kind of person who can appreciate the beauty and intensity of a well-crafted NC-17 film, I full-heartedly recommend renting "Shame" at least once. It's a seductive, hypnotic drama that won't soon be forgotten by those who choose to see it.
Michael Fassbender is amazing
I saw this movie in theatre and was taken aback by it. Fassbender is phenomenal as a sex addicted New Yorker who is truly afraid of real human attachment. I have to tip my girlie hat to McQueen he made such a masterpiece. This is a movie that has A LOT of sex but is not really about the sex itself. It's about the human heart that can both scary and exhilarating, ugly and beautiful, fierce and sweet. Definitely everyone should check this out. If you are easily offended by sex, don't see it. If you can open your mind and see past that then you will fall for this flick definitely going into my blu ray collection. :)
Not That Great
As a fierce "hater" of the MPAA, I laud this film for wearing its NC-17 as a badge of honor, not trying to edit it down to an R until you can't even find the director's vision anymore. NC-17 aside, this movie is not that great. It's okay. It's kind of flat. I've seen much better films that go into the psyche of people suffering from severe addiction (Requiem for a Dream, hell, even Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). In comparison with that first film, Shame feels like a slight work that can otherwise boast talented performers like Fassbender and Mulligan doing a great job here. McQueen's directing is good, but not great, and the film is so straightforward that it makes Inglourious Basterds look like a subtle movie. The first hour of nothingness, where no, we don't analyze Brandon's addiction except for watch him yell at people and make faces, leads up to a particularly interesting ten minute stretch during which Brandon goes on a date with a coworker who isn't looking for what he's looking for, if you get what I mean. After that, it slips back into the same kind of tedium. Never before has so much sex seemed so boring and unmoving.