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:: Shame

Whereas Steve McQueen’s first film ‘Hunger’ was about a man with no freedom, ‘Shame’ is an examination of a man who has all the freedom but who chooses to use his body to create his own prison instead. Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a fairly successful thirty-something living comfortably in an apartment in New York. As a distraction from the boring monotony of his day-to-day work life, he seduces and beds women, handling many doomed romances and one-night stands all in search of something more. When his wayward and unruly sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) arrives for an unannounced visit, however, the tight control and rhythm of his life soon collapses. Sissy’s disruptive presence propels Brandon further into New York's seedy underbelly as he tries to escape her need for connection and the memories she stands for.

There’s some interesting things happening on film and Fassbender is not shy to let it all hang out - a rare male actor trait - and although they fleeting touch on the most taboo of subjects, incest, between he and Sissy, they never go deeper or further with it which i think would have aided the film. Instead, we see Brandon bed woman after woman in the hope of finding something. A something he never finds. His journey feels incomplete by film’s end.

While both Fassbender and Mulligan do a good job with what they’re given, the script and pace of the film moves too slow and it’s easy to find yourself becoming distracted and bored.

Already a winner for Best Actor Award at the Venice International Film Festival 2011, Fassbender is an intense actor throughout this film, while Shame is an interesting movie. More a very slow burn of a film, it’s at times compelling while at others a slow bore. While it examines how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us, you just never really feel a connection to Brandon or ever care enough for him. And in today’s high turnover of films, that’s important.