Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Shame’ Review: Fassbender and Mulligan are Excellent, But…

“Shame” is a depressing portrait of a suffering Manhattan sex addict, played by Michael Fassbender, whose life is interrupted by the indefinite stay of his younger sister, Carey Mulligan.

If it weren’t for the performances of these two stellar actors, I probably would’ve hated this movie. It’s their performances that truly carry the film until the very end. “Shame” is only an hour and 40 minutes long, but with proper editing could have been only an hour and 20.

It definitely takes a certain talent to take on the role of a sex addict and a special director who puts the addiction on film. Fassbender has the talent and director/co-writer Steve McQueen has the stuff to pull off a film like this. But, I really wish there was more plot! It’s more of a long scene after long scene with little dialogue mixed in, which is why I gave it a 3 Star rating.

The score became very effective with the drawn out scenes and limited dialogue, which added to the film. But because of the limited plot, my boyfriend ended up hating it and I can see why a lot of people felt the same way.

Mulligan’s character, Sissy, says to Brandon at one point in the film, “We’re not bad people, we just came from a bad place.” That place is never discussed in the film, which I suppose was McQueen’s intention, but it took away the element of character development, which is something I love when watching a movie. We just know that Brandon and Sissy are originally from Ireland, but moved to the states when Brandon was a teenager.

Mulligan’s portrayal of the manic depressive Sissy was brilliant and she and Fassbender executed a very intimate relationship for brother and sister. There is one moment where Brandon accidentally sees Sissy in the shower and they proceed to have a conversation while she is in the nude, which is not normal. However these characters are nowhere near normal and though their relationship is complex, they are the only family each other has.

‘Shame’ is not for the faint of heart or the conservative movie goer, I wouldn’t see it in the theatres either. I would rent it, if you are curious to see what all the fuss is about. Just beware it garnered its NC-17 rating for a reason.

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