Brandon (Michael Fassbender) likes to walk round his apartment naked, todger swinging. (It’s impressive. If he had bells on his knees he could do an impression of Big Ben.) Brandon also likes to exercise his member on porn, prostitutes, cyber-sex and one-night stands. He knows it’s empty but he can’t seem to stop. Then his sister, nightclub singer Sissy (Carey Mulligan), turns up to stay, uninvited. She’s emotionally needy.

That’s the plot, really, because director/co-writer Steve McQueen is from the ‘auteur’ school that’s more interested in long takes, ambience and showing actors emoting. Hence one interminable scene where Sissy sings a slow-tempo “New York, New York” in a bar. Mulligan is not a great singer. Brandon, watching, sheds a tear, but we have no idea whether he’s moved by the music or is just terrified she’ll do another verse. It’s Michael’s pain we feel, not Brandon’s. Still, I suppose he can console himself with his todger. 4/10

Released February 9, 2012.


2 thoughts on “Shame

  1. I always enjoy reading the reviews on this site because our opinions often differ and it is fun to disagree. So imagine my horror that we have been agreeing on many films lately (including The Artist and Hugo) – it is with great pleasure that I can comment how much I enjoyed Shame. This film has stuck with me for days. I thought the acting was excellent and despite the lack of plot I was completely engaged the whole time due to the believable characters and their ongoing struggles. Also I think you are being harsh on Carey’s singing – it’s great to see someone sing live in a film, and not prerecord it and then dub – reminds me of Diane Keaton singing in Annie Hall. In a season of really dull underwhelming films, this one really stands out.

  2. Yes, I was reminded of Annie Hall too. Mulligan’s voice is OK but, let’s face it, not good enough to convince me she could make a living singing. And they missed a great comic opportunity in not getting Michael Buble to dub her instead. (Shame is a comedy, right…?)

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