Shame (UK, 2011)

Directed by: Steve McQueen. Anyone who’s taken a bit of a look at my previous entries will know of my unabashed hetero-fascination with Michael Fassbender (or Fassybendy as I call him), but I think I’m also developing a fairly strong man-crush on the work of Steve McQueen. He’s only got two movies to date. The previous one, Hunger, was one of my favourite things I saw this year and probably my favourite film about the Troubles, and the rumour is that the next one will be a biopic of Fela Kuti (also one of my favourite new finds of 2012) starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. I really dig McQueen’s style, and there was no way in hell I was going to miss Shame, but after I saw it (and re-saw it), I don’t know how blown away I am. It’s certainly a very brave film for taking such a close, unflattering look at sexual addiction. And it’s definitely some big achievement for McQueen to make this story look so harsh, painful, appallingly unattractive, and also so elegant and beautiful. As much as I want to love this movie, I’m not sure if I do, above just a modest appreciation. I’m not sure if, at the end of the day, this story actually delves very deeply into its chosen subject or if, by just glancing over it in a visually beautiful way, it just gives the appearance of having dealt with a major social topic. Of course, whenever I go down that rabbit hole, I’m stuck asking “is it necessary for me to expect the filmmaker to do anything but tell a story about a character?”, and the answer is usually “No”. And there really are a lot of things I like about this movie. The cinematography is fairly straightforward and humble, but it somehow makes Manhattan look so beautiful, as if we haven’t seen it on film a hundred times before. A lot has been said about the Bender (and rightfully so) but Carey Mulligan really holds her own as his foil here. I remember that she was also in Drive in a pretty well-done supporting role opposite a heavyweight male lead, and it seems like she’s the hired gun for the current crop of arty Euro directors cracking into Hollywood. I say: welcome, one and all. Keep them coming, and I’ll see you all at the opening night of Fela.

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2 responses to “Shame (UK, 2011)

  1. Pingback: 12 Years a Slave (UK/USA, 2013) | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Re-View: Drive (USA, 2011) | Offhand Reviews·

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