Film Review – Shame

Having made a rather big splash at the festival circuit last year, expectations have been high for this, as critics have been falling over themselves to sing its praises. However, a gritty British drama about sex addiction in New York is going to be something of a hard sell to a mainstream audience. No pun intended.

Much has been made of the explicit nature of its sex scenes, but anybody expecting to be titillated will be sorely disappointed. Yes, Michael “tripod” Fassbender has the kind of body that most men can only dream of, and there’s more than enough female nudity to equal it, but to say it doesn’t glamourise sex is an understatement. The emphasis isn’t so much on the sex as it is on the addiction; the way an obsession can control you, and the detrimental effect it can have on your life and relationships.

This is a film that says more in its silence than it does in its dialogue. Its pace is carefully measured, and yet you still find yourself hoping that a central character can sort himself out, despite his having demonstrated some hugely unsympathetic behaviour, particularly towards his sister.

The film’s conclusion is perfect- nicely circular and ambiguous enough to open up discussion- and this is the film’s greatest strength. The more you talk about it, the better you realise it is. I’d recommend seeing it with somebody, but a date movie this is not.

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