Re-view: Shame | On Demand
Steve McQueen’s sex-addiction drama deserves a closer look.
Our first look “The impulse to explain the character takes over; you’ve rarely seen a movie with so many great sequences crash and burn so thoroughly in its last 20 minutes.”
Another view Even some of the positive notices for Steve McQueen’s Shame treated the film as a cautionary tale about sex addiction: The Lost Weekend with porn. But a movie about a well-off, well-endowed Manhattanite who can’t stop getting women to sleep with him is much less interesting than Shame. It’s true that Michael Fassbender spends much of the film indulging, and a fraction of it battling, his baser urges. But after observing the character’s behavior long past the point when his sexual indulgences lose their erotic edge, McQueen reveals that Fassbender’s compulsive behavior is merely a symptom of something else. It’s an attempt to bury, or burn through, a childhood trauma he shares with his sister (Carey Mulligan). “We’re not bad people,” she tells him. “We just come from a bad place.”She’s not talking about New Jersey.
Like McQueen’s Hunger, Shame is a meticulous visual mood piece, but where the installation-artist-turned-filmmaker’s debut often crossed the line into grandstanding, Shame more elegantly weds style and content—the exception being Mulligan’s draggy nightclub rendition of “New York, New York.” Her fizzled tour de force predictably found favor with those who longed for Hunger’s self-conscious set pieces. Shame is a more conventionally structured movie, but it’s also more assured, the work of a filmmaker rather than a misplaced gallery artist. (Available on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray Tue 17.)