Saturday, 28 January 2012


Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, who have had another great year (Jane Eyre, Drive, respectively) are two of the best young actors of our time and their brilliant raw performances in Shame will only enhance their reputations, not least because of the unsympathetic characters they play in this cold dark film.

Fassbender plays Brandon, a sex addict living alone in a cold white apartment in Manhattan. It is clear from the start that Brandon gets no pleasure from his addiction, or, for that matter, from the rest of his life. His emotions, such as they are, generally vary only from anger to frustration to self-loathing. When his sister (Sissy, played by Mulligan) moves in, Brandon is not amused. But something happens when he watches Sissy sing at a bar one night. Is he remembering something? We don’t hear much about their past, but there are hints that it was far from good. Is there any hope for these two broken and desperately lonely people?

Rated NC-17 in the U.S., Shame is not for those who are offended by sex or nudity (or dark dramas about sex addiction). But it is a haunting powerful film by Steve McQueen, featuring great acting, cinematography and music. ***+. My mug is up.

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