Shame (2011)

Michael and Carey deliver disturbingly, controversial, powerful performances embracing their susceptibility to be loved and be accepted in spite of being human!


Fox Searchlight Pictures in association with Film4, See-Saw Films and UK Film Council present…

Director Steve McQueen (Hunger) gives a powerful and redeemable story of lust and love! The Big Apple where temptation is not a stranger gives emphasis in a harsh reality and it all points out to one man…Brandon! Steve once again collaborates with the lead actor since 2008 for the aforementioned film! He was able to bring out the repercussions of self-loathing which was successfully adhered coming from a finely selected actor that was his only choice to play the role!

Abi Morgan (Sex Traffic) and the Director wrote the script and made it an impeccably thought provoking masterpiece!  It’s character centric at the same time story driven which sums altogether the right amount of intensity portrayed by a few wonderfully gifted individuals selected to amass these misdirected weaknesses to get the audience’s attention through understanding what it’s like to have this unwarranted condition of being human!

I really found it fantastic on how Cinematographer Sean Bobitt (The Situation) and for Joe Walker (Tabloid) to Edit every moving disclosure of the night in the city, the train rides, even the vacant lots at the bay looked tranquil and in the right mood coming from lighting and camera shots! Making the triumvirate of Steve, Sean and Joe turning heads while winning multiple awards and gaining accolades from all over the industry since their first film together in Hunger!

The music played from a piano that surrounds scenes compliments it beautifully, is in pace with every step, glance and conundrum that Michael reveals in his facade, tribulations that haunt him still! The Bach depicted from The Goldberg Variations given emphasis on how it interacts with Michael being alone and without a clue in finding a cure for his so-called illness! While Harry Escott (A Mighty Heart) composes an opening titled “Brandon” which lies heavily on with strings of sadness and a background sound of a bomb ticking away it’s countdown to explode!

A man lying in bed, perplexed, vexed and yet steadily breathing you could see it in his face as he leaves his disoriented sheets! Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method) plays Brandon Sullivan a high profiled professional who is at the peak of his career, well tailored suits, a posh apartment and at the prime of his physical well-being! But on another note, Michael’s demeanour, his penchant for sex exacerbate while trying to convey implicitly what he still lacks…love for himself! His routine is extensively manifested what he does day in day out as he sleeps with someone and ignores them, he’s even too “busy” to pick the phone if the women calls him, like ghosts back from the dead yearning out his name…”Brandon, Brandon I’m dying!”

While the camera was always fixated, close-up shots on Michael’s troubled soul which really brings out the charisma to his character, he may be poker faced most of the time even for the seeming uncaring, soulless man but not until his sister placed tears in his eyes! The timeless “New York, New York” rendition was forlorn and sober coming from Carrey’s lips but it was absolute blissful nostalgia!

His M.O., doing the mind work while watching a woman from across his seat faintly writhes and fantasize his caressing eyes, Brandon will never miss his mark even if they are already wearing a ring! To add, the competition and his goal for choosing his type has no space for compromises even for his Boss …he wants the best in every aspect of a woman and what he wants he gets! James Badge Dale (The Naked Brothers Band) is David the smart mouth, two timing family man! He maybe the Boss but here, he rather gets the booing when it comes to picking up women even Michael shakes his head when they go out just for experiencing the mediocrity he displays!

The day came when his sister barged into his apartment and changed his life…we will find out soon enough! BAFTA Award Winner Carey Mulligan (Drive) is the eccentric and happy-go-lucky Sissy Sullivan. Carrey was awesome spontaneous and full of energy! She brings her performance to another level and hits the right spot for her to shine and be a light for her brother and not die trying!

The dynamic and their chemistry moves, flows with the film by itself and that makes it great, an amalgamation of delivery, talent and smart storytelling that encompasses life and how to go on with it without the feeling of being dispensable. Her love showed him what it means to still have someone by his side, to have a family, to have someone in spite of their personal problems and his addiction!

Clearly Michael and Carey makes it heartfelt on screen feeling their pain with utmost sincerity while trying to empathize on their bond as brother and sister; these two will be having more projects to work on trust me! They have made their performances clean cut and precise as it should be not weepy or overly dramatic; above all it surpasses the misconception of having biological needs and wants…around literally in each other’s arms would suffice!

It drags you until you can crawl back to your sofa, the composition, set-up and ambiance has so much inclination with European film making, taking each scene to have a dilemma, conversive acting that provides more intently to be submersed in drama and real life! It makes you feel you belong with them and the realization that gives a bittersweet aftertaste of who we are and what we have become as human beings such it is frustratingly coherent in this mundane society we live in!

It’s a matter of perspective on how you view the film regardless of its obscenities and its taboo subject matter. But the mere fact that the performers and production team made a compelling, poignant epiphany in all of us! We can’t escape our demons but it’s never too late to ask for help and that’s why the story works, it’s straight up, all genuinely made coming from actual experiences not to be used for a mere excuse but rather on how we face it head on and not relying on happenstance, to be better than this carnal inhibitions through respect for others and especially for ourselves!


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