Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Shame (DVD/BluRay Combo) Review

DVD/BluRay Review of Shame from director Steve McQueen starring Michael Fassbender & Carey Mulligan.

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Dir: Steve McQueen (Hunger)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, Nicole Beharie, James Badge Dale
UK, 2011

Reason to see: Huge acclaim & kudos, especially for Michael Fassbender's performance

Shame certainly feels like one of the powerhouses films from last year. I had seen the emotional heartbreak of Hunger from director Steve McQueen and starring Michael Fassbender, I thought I would be prepared to dive in to one of pairings again with this New York set drama. Retrospectively, I'm not sure that anything can really prepare you for Shame. What could really prepare you for following sex obsessed/addicted Brandon (played by Michael Fassbender) during the film? I really don't think anything can. There is something really unnerving about the character of Brandon in so many ways, not just the addiction but the fact that people can so easily be charmed over by him or in the case of his sister (played by Carey Mulligan) heavily rely on him, and although we see him baring all he often remains a huge mystery.

Shame is one of the films where I feel like a putz that I wasn't taken by it, a film that I would rather just agree with folk on it's brilliance but I can't. Not that it isn't brilliant, but that's not what I took away from the film. Are the performance astounding? Yes they are. Is it talking about something taboo? Yes it was. Was it gorgeously shot? Yes it was. Did I care about ...anyone? A-ha. There we go. For me, that was the missing ingredient. There were moments that I felt for Brandon, but mostly empathetically to his current emotional states of being as opposed to his obsession/addiction/situation. I felt the weight he was baring, and therefore empathized, but outside of near-breaking point moments I had no patience for his plight. It was a quite strange experience, and this is my personal reaction to the film which brings me farther the point of knowing to trust my gut that films of almost purely emotional hardship are not for me. For the high drama fan though, Shame is a great fit as it hits all the marks you'd want and expect for a powerful, emotional journey with striking performance and a haunting sense of realism.

DVD/Blu-Ray Extras:
  • Q&A with Michael Fassbender (35 minutes) from the Hackney Picturehouse - January 2012 with Dave Calhoun; Film Editor, Time Out. Film clips and Q&A (including audience questions) discussing his filmography, working with director Steve McQueen, the draw to the film, his first reaction to the idea of the film, the duality of the character of Brandon vs being an addict, working with Carey Mulligan and the setting of New York.
  • Interview with Michael Fassbender (3 minutes) discussing the character of Brandon, on sex addiction, the challenges of the film and on working with Steve McQueen and Carey Mulligan.
  • Interview with Carey Mulligan (2 minutes) discussing the character of Sissy, on preparing and getting the role and on working with Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender.
  • Trailer
Shame is available on DVD as of April 17, 2012. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I'd watch it again for the performances
I'd recommend it drama fans, especially for the emotional journey

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© Shannon Ridler, 2012

Michael Fassbender in SHAME

Michael Fassbender in SHAME

Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan star in Shame


Dan O. said...

Closing with a cleverly inverted sense of ambiguity, Shame is an effective film both performance-wise and from a technical standpoint. Fassbender is also perfect in this role and I really do hope he at least gets a nomination for an Oscar. Good review Shannon.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Interesting note on the ambiguity - it certainly played that card differently than I'd expect being both very clear and or not; depending on the subject.

I'm pretty sure it would have qualified for last years Oscar's though, so I don't think we'll see much there.

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