|Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan play brother and sister in an emotionally draining scene all performed in one static shot from Steve McQueen's Shame|
*** out of ****
Director Steve McQueen's film, Shame, is an exercise in greatness when considering how much acting, directing, editing, and music score have the power to convey substance. This is a movie about an emotionally distant sex-addict and his unpredictable emotional sister who has come back into his life, much to his dismay. The writing deliberately withholds their back-story which is almost all you can wonder about while viewing the film. I can imagine that this is a film that could give me more insight to it's frustrating characters through multiple viewings. This might become a great movie in my eyes if I saw it again, but I don't feel the desire.
Michael Fassbender gives what I can imagine is a very brave performance. He's naked, frustrated, and buries his soul deep down. The cinematography and editing are naturalistic and non-linear revolving around long passages of his conquests for empty sex. The rest of the film concentrates on the way he hides from everyone in his life. The atmosphere is very cold. Carey Mulligan, as the sister, is quite good but I don't know if this the role she was born to play. She tends to shine playing 'innocent and curious'. But I'm not sure if she is ideal as the damaged type I saw in this movie or last year's Drive. It must be said that she delivers a beautiful singing performance of "New York, New York" during a lounge scene in the middle of the film.
This movie is very well directed. There is little gratification to be expected when viewing it. My stance at the moment is that it may be very rewarding for some people to explore but I found it a bit too alienating to want to go back for another look.