29. Shame – Steve McQueen (2011)

First Viewing

After a fair amount of hype about the provocative nature of Shame I can’t help but feel this is all style over very little substance. McQueen directs his arse off, but the audiences complete lack of connection with any of the characters makes the film an utterly aesthetic pleasure. The supposed depravity of the main character, Brandon (Fassbender), has been taken to greater lengths with far more shameful acts performed in appreciably more accomplished films (Gaspar Noé’s work immediately springs to mind) often with deeper, more interesting characters and considerably better scripts. Brandon trends too close to unintentionally pastiching Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman (from American Psycho.) I almost expected Fassbender to announce he had “some videotapes to return” and start chopping the heads off of unsuspecting hookers. The saving grace of Shame is the cinematography, it’s often beautiful and the extended, uncut scenes are wonderfully acted and composed, they really are the high points of the film. However it’s not enough to save the film for me, and, if anything, Shame doesn’t go far enough, it’s too much of a tease.

Marks out of ten – Six


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