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23 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Good Performances in a Shallow and Empty Story

4/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
29 July 2012

In New York, the empty thirty and something year-old Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a sex-addicted man that works in an office. His longest relationship lasted only four months and Brandon does not have any friend. Brandon has casual sex with women that he meets in bars; has sex also with hookers; visits porn sites in Internet; and collects sex magazines. However, he is unable to have sex with an acquaintance.

When his also dysfunctional younger sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) unexpectedly moves to his apartment, she has one night stand with Brandon's boss and the world of Brandon turns upside-down.

"Shame" is one of the most overrated films that I have recently seen. Brandon is a man that was probably sexually abused when he was a child and is sex addicted. The plot is limited to show his empty existence shagging women and masturbating. His sister Sissy is also a dysfunctional young woman, weaker than him, that needs support from her older brother but he is unable to help her. In the end, "Shame" is a film with good performances, but with a shallow and empty story. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "Shame"

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37 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Come see the world's dullest porno

3/10
Author: Dan Franzen (dfranzen70) from United States
11 January 2012

Watching Shame is worse than the clichés of watching paint dry or grass grow, because in those instances you know there'll be some sort of satisfying conclusion, some point to it all. If there's a point to Shame, it's so subtle as to be apathetically invisible, which is so say you can't see it and it doesn't much care if you do. It features performances that range from stoic to histrionic, plot development that is nonsensical, scenes that drag on for no discernible reason, and awkward conversations that don't even show the promise of less-awkward conversations later on. It's a soulless, dead-eyed film. Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is supposed to be a porn addict who has gigabytes of the stuff on his PC at work and his laptop at home, plus a lot of magazines; he has anonymous sex with anyone he can find. He's a bit of a nihilist, not moving through life so much as wafting through it like an unpleasant odor. But his sex addiction, let's be frank, is really rather tame. There are probably millions of loner males who indulge in the same behavior. That is, this ain't the same guy played by Christian Bale in American Psycho or by Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver. Brandon, a well-off exec at some Big Company, simply finds outlets for his desires, sometimes tempting danger, but never resorts to crime or anything requiring emotion. We're meant to take that to mean he's repressing something.

Enter his sister, named – seriously – Sissy (Carey Mulligan). Our first glimpse of Sissy is her emerging, startled, from Brandon's shower; she's arrived unexpectedly (to stay) while he was at work. She is naked, and we see it all. We're supposed to be shocked, and we are. After all, Carey Mulligan is an up and coming star, and this is no stand in. Brandon's reaction is a little more of the enraged type, but he merely bottles it up and stomps away after closing the door. There's a lot of door slamming in the movie.

Over the course of the movie, we get some clues to the nature of the siblings' relationship. They have been out of touch for some time, although Sissy does have her brother's apartment key. She's flirty and works as a torch singer in various New York clubs. He seems to be perpetually seething at her immature behavior. Is it because she's disrupting his happy fun time, or is it something more…decadent? The movie's title gives us an idea.

The movie promises to be intriguing. Why have these two been apart? Where has Sissy been, and why does Brandon hold her in such contempt? We're supposed to assume that his constant masturbating and hooker- engaging portends something, a way perhaps of acting out an emotion or two. But what? We're never told. The hints are there, and one can make an educated guess to the root of the problems, but it's a fool's errand. It's not just that we might not find out the entire truth, we might not find out anything, period. That leaves us with two opposite characters who, under less-profane circumstances, could have starred in a buddy sitcom about mismatched roomies.

The movie looks grimy and feels slimy. You want to take a long bath afterward, not a cold shower – despite the frequent sex and nudity. Sometimes, the movie shows us one thing, leading us to one conclusion, and then shows us a different conclusion. Whammo, you've been hit by a red herring. There's more depravity in here than there was in Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant but without the compelling plot. Novice director Steve McQueen (no relation) seems to have little idea on how to end a scene, as long silences seem pointless rather than pointed. People stare at each other, then off into space, as if this meant something. Maybe it does. You won't care.

Shame is an ugly mess. It's an unhappy, inconsolable wreck of a movie. It's not a train wreck from which one cannot avert one's eyes; it's just a generic wreck that is faceless, dispassionate, and distant.

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

For insecure types who need to sound intellectual

1/10
Author: darrenkoneill from United Kingdom
9 February 2013

Yes only insecure types who needing to affirm their personality will like this, as they believe by endorsing this they elevate themselves into the league of self proclaimed Illuminati. A league that has more members everyday, society is so full of insecurity that this is the result, so many people too afraid to judge through lack of self confidence, that they succumb to their doubting thoughts.

This movie is diabolical, and no it has not found an unusual level of interest that only few can appreciate, it is simply poor vacant ugly and sad.

Go on stand up, say you hate it, be strong, forget about the negative 'tweets' (or whatever medium it is you use to belong) you'll get from your peers, just refuse even when your subconsciousness says "go on vote 10 out of 10, Doogle and Cedric will think you're so 'in' and that girl with the green hair who makes puppets from used polystyrene coffee cups will think you are so amazing".

BE STRONG, please we don't have much time left, we're almost outnumbered.

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19 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

An Empty Movie about nothing

3/10
Author: harsh-356-444302 from Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires
13 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For an hour and a half almost nothing happens. The film has almost no plot. The protagonist does not seem like a sex addict, he looks more like a normal single man who likes to sleep with different women without commitments and watching porn. The film ends and we still don't know what is the damn problem with his sister, the only thing we know is that she decides to commit suicide. People who say they see a complex and dark story in this script must have a very boring life. There are a lot of scenes that add nothing to the story. As the interminable scene where Sissy sings "New York, New York" or the subway trips where nothing happens. I do not question the work of the actors, but the script is very poor and this movie is full of disposable parts. I guess this movie may like to very conservative people looking to see soft porn scenes, but not much more than that.

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18 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

i want my money back

1/10
Author: cmshents from South Africa
5 June 2012

i will always remember not to watch anything by Steve McQueen. i just want my money back. this movie falls in the same category as Trespass or Sleepers. What a stupid movie. I would not watch it even if I'd be paid to. Is it trying to teach us about the dangers of porn? The follow up question is what 18 year old doesn't know the side effects of porn. My take is that Mr McQueen is duping us into believing that his movie is full of action by putting up 18sln - just a man showing dick and ass. Not even proper shagging. There was no storyline at all. The movie sucks big time. Where in the world a married boss meets the sister of a subordinate and bangs her on the same night in the condo of the subordinate while the subordinate is listening to the bonking moaning? Only in a dumb movie.

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15 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

emperor's new clothes

2/10
Author: stuartbunce
16 May 2012

Meretricious is not a word I use very often but it is the perfect description for this film which like many other indie art-house movies based on similar themes of urban alienation/sexual obsession/existential crises etc are really mildly titillating soft porn dressed up (or not as the case may be) as intimate and hard hitting character driven,profound and 'provocative' film making - which this is definitely NOT. Just another film which exploits a sexually provocative subject matter and uses it as a reason to 'explore' the theme with lots of shagging scenes and justifies all this with a tenuously strung together plot which tries to insinuate profounder levels of meaning and emotional truth which are in fact non existent.The actors try their best to convey this deeper meaningfulness and the director fancies himself as Antonioni I imagine but he's not, and of all the Steve McQueens I know of i think he is the less talented one, and I know two - one the iconic movie star and the other one works in my local Cafe Nero and does spectacularly good smoothies.

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18 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Story had one track mind - no substance to plot

1/10
Author: grandtime001 from United States
9 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story focuses on a man who is consumed with self gratification sexually. He is also in inner turmoil to some extent. His sister moves in with him unexpectedly and there are subtle references to her wanting him sexually. Beyond this shallow contrived plot line...there is nothing really going on. The movie just didn't go anywhere. The acting was okay, but there is a scene of his sister singing an entire new york new york song...really. Another scene shows him running in the streets for like 5 minutes. It felt like the director needed to add lots of fluff to this movie to make it 2 hours or whatever time it ran. It was boring and not worth watching in my opinion.

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22 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

A film that will haunt you

9/10
Author: Jill Wisoff (FantasyCreatureFilmsLLC) from New York
28 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's interesting reading many of these reviews expressing trouble with the lack of information presented.

It seems the intent was to do a character study of the life of a sex addict, not the analysis. If this wasn't the intent, McQueen would have added a scene when Fassbender's character attempts to "kick the habit" showing him joining a 12 step program or going to a shrink as expository revelation.

He doesn't and this is purposeful.

McQueen chooses to put aside the pat formulaic approach to do something new. The audience experiences the obsessive spiral of this character by becoming the voyeur. McQueen never sways from this goal, he never allows the intent to be off its mark by slipping in an analysis of his character's past, instead he simply focuses on his pattern of behavior and creates the turmoil in the mind of a viewer forced to simply focus on this behavior and guess at what motivates him. I believe McQueen achieves this goal in a well made film that succeeds with the fresh voice of an original auteur.

Everyone is going to have an opinion on this, as it's never actually stated in the story, as to what may be the motivating factor behind the Fassbender character: I do believe at heart this is a tragic love story between a man and his obsession for a sister he's not allowed to have sexually...of course this is just my theory but I think the clues are there. We'll never know watching this if there had been incest in the past, if in fact it was he who'd touched his sister and made her the suicidal mess she is today which is possible, or if it had been another family member. We're only given clues to a deeper, darker, shame than the sexual addiction; our first introduction to Mulligan's character where she steps out of a shower naked in front of her brother is telling. There's endless availability of her to her brother that seems sexually provocative and purposeful to get a rise out of him. It's his response, his tears, his agonies, the exacerbation of his issues to her actions that are the giveaway; ultimately, we see when he can't perform with a co-worker we come closest to the reality of his issues regarding a deep rooted fear of intimacy with those he cares for. There's the re-occurring issue of his obsession with a woman in the subway wearing a wedding ring. His co-worker mentions she's separated. Is he unable to perform because, like his sister, she's taboo, or because she's been married? He seeks a rise from a man who he purposely provokes by claiming he wants to do certain acts with his girlfriend (was the relationship with his mother twisted, did he seek to provoke his father?). For commentary that the story is unbelievable, that straight man with a sex addiction become so out of control they may wander into a gay sex club and allows an act like you see, this is not outside the realm of possibility and probability for a man with a severe sex addiction. For commentary that this is about a man with depression and inability to be intimate, all these are part of the illness of sex addiction.

We're also hit over the head we're watching a cyclical relationship between he and his sister, that leads to the same pattern in his behavior over and over like a broken record.

We all want to know while we watch this movie what the background of this character is, but we're denied this. Instead, we're forced to experience the raw shame and degradation of sex addiction. This intent is achieved by this filmmaker in this powerful, disturbing film with its unforgettable performances by Fassbender and Mulligan; Fassbender's performance is the bravest I've ever seen by a legit actor on screen. Kudos.

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14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

It might divide people but not me

1/10
Author: simonajroberts from Bahrain
25 August 2012

The reviews and assessments for this movie really surprise me. There can be many reasons for watching a movie, however one of the main reasons is to entertain. I'm not too bothered what genre a movie is if its original. What does this movie do? it does not shock, it does not entertain, its not amusing or thought provoking. Its not artistic, so whats the point of it? ultimately its a really boring movie. Lets cut through the posing and the pretense. It does'nt have a message, but its an excuse to have a lot of nudity and simulated sex, so what? Does this show it in a more meaningful-or less meaningful way? I guess for people who like the movie 'Drive' and 'Lost in translation' and feel clever and perceptive and cool, it might tick some boxes. Otherwise, if you want a good movie, don't rent this one.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Deeply disappointing

3/10
Author: Mandy Cowan from Solihull, UK
13 May 2013

I have been generous giving this film 3/10 and that is because I rate Michael Fassbender as an actor.

The character never really develops for me, in order to enjoy a film where it is very character based, you need to have some sort of empathy with the character. You need to at least want to understand why he acts the way he does, but truthfully he is not at all likable, there is nothing that makes you want to help or understand him.

The film it just a stream of dislikable characters, embarrassing sex scenes and it's all so harsh and pointless.

Really disliked this film a great deal and I would recommend a wide berth. I really hoped it would be deeper and have more substance, but it really lacks.

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