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Posted by martinteller on May 23, 2012

Usually when I finish a movie, I go straight to writing my review.  I don’t like other people’s opinions to influence me, at least not on the first go-round.  This time, however, I took to the interwebs and checked out what some other folks had to say.  Why make an exception in this case?  Because the film really didn’t leave much of an impression on me at all.  There doesn’t appear to be a consensus of opinion on Shame.  Some folks are pretty enthusiastic about it, some folks are pretty negative.  I see both sides, I agree with both sides.  Where does that leave me?

Rather disappointingly, somewhere in the middle.  Which is where I was on McQueen’s previous film, Hunger.  There are nice touches, some subtleties and ambiguities.  The performances are generally impressive, although not enough to make me sit up and take notice.  It all just feels so self-consciously restrained to me, but I’m not convinced that’s the right word.  I’m being inarticulate, not because the film had such a profound impact on me that it left me speechless, but because there’s really nothing that I can latch on to.  It’s a reasonably deft portrayal of its central character and his addiction, it’s just not a compelling one to me.  I simply didn’t care, the film left me as cold as its deliberately sterile aesthetic.  It strikes me as a film that everyone was very proud to be a part of and do good work on, but no one, including the director, was particularly passionate about.  I recognize the talent in the craftsmanship, sure.  I just wouldn’t watch it again and don’t feel like I got anything out of it.

Nice soundtrack, though.  Tom Tom Club, Blondie, Coltrane, Baker.  Rating: Fair


2 Responses to “Shame”

  1. kevlarcardhouse said

    I actually enjoyed Hunger a lot, but was surprised that I was indifferent to this one. Maybe it was the subject matter? While I’m certain it’s a genuine and terrible sickness that can ruin someone’s life, there’s something about a well-to-do white man obsessed with sex that makes it difficult for me to have much empathy for him, and I don’t think the film worked hard enough for me to get past that issue. I also felt that unlike Hunger, a few of the uncomfortable moments were forced.

    That said, Carey Mulligan is quickly becoming one of my favourite new actresses.

    • I don’t get into sexual subject matter that much myself. When I look at my favorite films, very few of them have much to do with sex, especially not in such an overt manner. I like Mulligan, too, very much.

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