Tag Archive | independent films

My Personal Review: Shame (2011)

Shame directed by Steve McQueen is definitely a film for the independent film goer. If you like pensive and provocative movies with substance, you will enjoy this one. For those who are confused with the trailer or unfamiliar with the title at all, Shame in a nutshell is primarily about a man’s struggle with addiction. There are elements of addiction strung about through the story within other characters but the main character Brandon Sullivan (played by Michael Fassbender) is the main focus.  We follow Brandon and observe how his addiction affects his daily living, how he views the world around him, and how his addiction affects others. Director Steve McQueen took a minimalist approach to the way the film was shot and edited. I thought this was brilliant given the fact that the film was very detail driven.  McQueen seems to be following the motto “show don’t tell” and strategically uses music, sound/silence, textures, objects, and obstacles to add to the depth of the overall film and the psychology of the main character.  I really appreciated the natural feel of the film. It is like the director set up the shots and got out off the way. What I mean by this is that there are no fancy cuts, no over dramatic music that exceeds the  mood of the scene in which it is placed, and no overly contrived background activity. The clean shooting method juxtaposes the dirty subject matter and intensely focused acting to create a story that seems like a slice of life rather than an act put on for the viewer. One example of this is an elevator scene where we ride the elevator from the bottom floor all the way to the main characters’ floor. Furthermore, there are many intimate shots and moments that drive the film and makes the audience feel like a fly on the wall.  Everything was shot purposefully and just simply works. Michael Fassbender is brilliant in this role. He seems to be constantly brimming with desire, so much so that you can see it through his intense eyes. In the films he says a lot without saying many words at all. His inner monologue is strong and I get the sense that he is constantly hiding his secret addiction.  Carey Mulligan plays his sister in the film, and did exceptionally well. She is almost equally as pensive and troubled and their relationship to each other is very clear. If you are going to see this film, and I highly recommend you do, I suggest you go with independent movie enthusiast or  true movie lovers. The pacing can be a bit too slow for those use to mainstream films that are driven by a rudimentary formula (ie. boy meets girl, they break up and boy does something sweet to get her back) rather than intense stories that deal with peoples darkest struggles and how they work through them…or lack there of. I say this because I took 3 friends, one doesn’t watch independent films; her favorites are goofy films. She felt as though the film did not have a plot but the plot is evident to those familiar with independent films focus. I also advice that you pay close attention to detail because there are little easter eggs that the director places in view (such as a character gesturing and their ring is in the shot or many erect figures and so on…). So go out and enjoy the film and if you are not going alone keep in mind that it is rated NC-17; which I feel was done very purposefully and tastefully for the story. Enjoy 🙂

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