Shame - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shame Reviews

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November 28, 2016
We all have our vices, our obsessions, and sometimes our addictions to aid us in the grappling with both the world and our psyches. But the protagonist of Steve McQueen's metallic, detached "Shame" (2011) has an unhealthy dependency that's beginning to take over his life. A sex addict unable to go a night without a lay nor a working day without a lunch break supplemented by a porno, he is without much of a life and without much of a sense of self: he only has a sex life and a capable body, everything meaningless unless surrounded by sheets and in the company of a willing woman.
In his past might have Brandon (Michael Fassbender) been a skirt chaser who found a certain sort of manic glee in his enviable ability to seduce the opposite sex. But now past his thrilling twenties and in the grips of a corporate job that's become flatly routine, being a deadened Don Juan is all he has - mixed with emotional damage we'd be safe to assume is the product of a mangled upbringing, he helplessly finds himself incapable of feeling anything unless it revolves around sex.
And so the bombastic crashing in of his damaged sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) at his steely New York apartment only heightens the war he's having with himself. More so emotionally scarred then Brandon is - she has a history of cutting and uses an obnoxious facade to cover up her perennial hurt - Sissy's presence forces Brandon to come to terms with what he's become. For the first time in years is his compassion necessary, and for once is there a woman in his life than he cannot abuse and lose.
But unlike most addiction dramas is there never a moment wherein the afflicted protagonist necessarily comes to terms with their dependency. "Shame" is a character study of such understated disconcertion that, maybe even like a Cronenberg body horror feature, its coldness is both a virtue and a setback. A virtue in its seamless paralleling of Brandon's own incapability to feel but a setback in its divisive way of keeping us at as much an arm's length as the women the latter gives himself to and then immediately lets go of.
Clear is that McQueen wants to craft a drama that lines its atmosphere up with its lead's disconnected view of the world, and in that regard is his co-writing and directing spotless and unnervingly perceptive. But "Shame" is such a comprehensively unhappy movie that I couldn't help but distance myself from it for the duration of my viewing - it's impossible, anyway, to get close to it, to try to understand Brandon and Sissy as much as we'd like. That aloofness, of course, is meticulously calculated. But sometimes "Shame" miserably sits in front of us instead of coming alive - it is a plateau of gloom, never to be cleansed by necessary catharsis.
An internal battle deciding whether the movie's deleteriously unapproachable or masterfully observant and knowing of tone overwhelms me, but no hesitation plagues me in the praising of Fassbender and Mulligan. The film finds imperious actors at the top of their game, with Fassbender playing empty with heartbreaking clarity and with Mulligan portraying emotional despondency with the distress of a cat clinging to the skinny branch of a tree that's inevitably going to give. Additionally is James Badge Dale, as Brandon's misogynistic, self-centered boss, all too convincingly narcissistic, and additionally is Nicole Beharie, as the love interest Brandon wishes he had but can't commit himself to, unmistakably tangible.
Perhaps "Shame" is the kind of movie that initially baffles me but eventually comes to be lasting in the mind, akin to my experiences with "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (1986) and "Midnight Cowboy" (1969). But for now do I figure it to be uninviting and psychologically demanding, flawlessly conceived if a bit hollow. With the performances excellent, though, there's no mistaking it as anything but a character study that rings with an all too rare credibility.
½ November 21, 2016
This movie doesn't make you feel anything !
½ November 20, 2016
WHAT I LIKED: There's certainly no doubt that this film contains some excellent performances and bags of well considered characterisation...
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It may also however, be the slowest moving film I've ever seen. It's rare that I get this bored or dissengaged, but you get so long to just sit and think about the not-much-that's-happened, that you find yourself bored senseless. Don't get me wrong, I love a good character study, but the best way to understand them isn't just to deliver endless (albeit brilliant) shots of them looking miserable; it's to actually test them.
VERDICT: When it's this slow, all the great actors and Fasabender-frowns in the world can't save it. What a devestatingly numb experience.
October 27, 2016
Stunning direction, it gave me the chills, Fassbender's performances is one of the greatest he has ever don, it's a really disturbing look of what sex and addiction is, but I can't help but love it.
October 15, 2016
A strange one glad I saw it but wouldn't watch with friends.
½ October 8, 2016
Much like Brandon's life; because of the movie's lack of character development with its main character and no real focus between either concentrating on Brandon's relationship with his sister or his sexual addiction, the movie gives a very empty expierance by the end of it all but an expierance I recommend seeing, if your into these kind of movies.
½ October 3, 2016
A wannabe art film, but really a depressing porno flick instead. Way too much of Michael's "Fassbender" if you know what I mean. Nice to see Carey Mulligan taking some chances in her movie roles, but this one was too exaggerated a film to carry any weight. It's simply about a sex addict and his woe-is-me life. It's a "Shame" I wasted my time watching this.
½ September 26, 2016
Intense, shocking, intesresting...
½ September 26, 2016
Michael Fassbender gives nothing short of a committed performance in this woeful, uncomfortable, and frankly graphic character study.
September 25, 2016
A very powerful film about a reasonably new talked about addiction ( sex addiction ).
Michel fassbender is amazing as usual, he never seems to disappoint. Steve McQueen has created something close to a master piece in my eyes, modern movie art , a must see for film Enthusiasts !
September 24, 2016
A powerful film about a man who refuses to commit to a relationship can be a bit risqué. But in the hands of Steve McQueen (III) it becomes a highly original, touching, thought provoking, and at times depressing, movie. I loved this film and I recommend it to anyone.
½ September 15, 2016
IMO: An intimate look at a man's sexual life. Shame? v Shame! v Life. Is it intentionally judgmental or thought provoking.
September 8, 2016
what the hell was this crap
½ August 19, 2016
This was an interesting movie that had some good acting.
Sex addict whose unstable sister shows up for a visit.
Lots of nudity, especially from Fassbender.
August 10, 2016
As another reviewer mentioned, this is a movie about sex, without sex being the main focus. A really deep, dark look into the reality of one man.
½ August 8, 2016
Raw, haunting, and masterfully directed
August 5, 2016
Another hugely impressive performance from Fassbender !
Super Reviewer
½ August 1, 2016
An unpretentious, devastating character study that takes a disturbing look at sexual addiction with magnificent performances by Fassbender and Mulligan, and is directed with absolute control by Steve McQueen, who leaves no room for easy resolutions or happy endings.
July 14, 2016
Confusing at times but wow was this an entertaining one.
June 13, 2016
Lo único que se debe saber pa ver la película es que Fassbender interpreta a un adicto al porno y las prostitutas. Pero adicto en serio, no es broma el tema. Me pareció un tema cautivador, ya que existen muchas cosas de tipo adictivo (drogas legales e ilegales, hacer o ver deporte, apuestas, etc), y el sexo es una que no ha sido muy abordada en el cine.

La peli es por momentos angustiante. Una decisión de dirección fue hacer algunas escenas largas, que creo que transmiten bien las sensaciones del protagonista. Deja varias cosas (quizás demasiadas eso si) para la interpretación personal, lo que me parece bueno en el sobreexplicado cine de hoy. (Por favor hágannos pensar!). De todas formas creo que le faltó profundizar en algunas cosas. En algunas situaciones la pelota quedaba dando bote y el director no remató de volea. Por eso la peli no generó full empatía en mi, pese a algunas escenas muy buenas por parte de Fassbender y la actriz que interpreta a su hermana.

De todas formas creo que es una de esas típicas películas que no son redondas pero que dejan mucho para el lucimiento del actor/actriz principal. Yo creo que Fassbender es un gran gran actor, de esos que si le dejas servida una película más o menos buena el tipo la va a hacer buena. 3 de 5
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