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

Posted in Film, Reviews by - January 01, 2012
‘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. 


  • John

    I was taken to this movie with the expectation of seeing “great acting” by Fassbender, but neither one of these actors did anything for me…. Carey Mulligan’s best acting sequence was when she was asleep in the hospital bed! I think the script for the movie consisted of a single-sided sheet of paper that the director milked for almost 2 hours, extending almost every seen longer than it needed to me. This “movie” could have been much more effective as a short film, maybe about 20 minutes long. If you have to try this hard to look for positive aspects from a film, whether it be acting, camera-work, or the score, it’s not worth the price of admission!

    • Steve

      I agree. I saw this movie, and have heard the hype of Fassbender being nominated. I would have to say that I don’t agree with the critics at all. It’s really not that hard to walk around naked and look sad. Can we please get past the stage where anything that presents a unique topic is automatically up for awards!

    • , “What do you have to say about wedpseriad promiscuity among savages?” To which, Datta just sighs, “Hmm, holy matrimony,” and lapses into silence. That, I think is classic understatement!

  • Sharon

    DC Film Girl: Can you give us some more details on why you think these 2 leads gave stellar performances? The only part of the review I can agree with is that the score was quite effective….solely because it comprised 1:15 of the 1:40 movie runtime.

    • Michael Fassbender was 2011’s top breakout star and that had a lot to do with his performance in “Shame.” He ability to completely transform into a sex addict without making it look glamourous, fun or exciting was a hard task to accomplish. When I walked into this movie, I was afraid they were going to glamorize it too much, but he pulled it off beautifully, making the film almost a scary portrait.

      As for Mulligan, not only can she act, but it turns out she’s a talented singer as well! I would’ve loved to have seen more of her in the movie, but the scenes she was in with Fassbender were some of the best in the film. The two definitely have a weird brother/sister relationship and that obviously has to do with their upbringing. Her emotions throughout the film were definitely something to take note of.

    • yeah I have, but I rlleay didnt get the same feeling that you got. I can see some resemblance’s between the films, but nothing blatantly clear that its a rip-off.

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