SHAME is released tomorrow in the UK, and it’s going to be interesting to see how people react to it in the UK after it’s received some sniffy reviews in the USA. Most times with reviews that differ with my own opinion, I can at least work out how they arrived at that particular conclusion, if not see the film in a new light. With the negative SHAME reviews though it almost unanimously seems as if the writer has seen an entirely different film to the one I did. I don't think SHAME is flawless, but it's the nature of some of the complaints that baffle me, like that Brandon's behaviour is in some way glorified. I've seen this opinion articulated by more thna one person, and I can't get my head around it at all. In a way I think this speaks to how much of a malleable work the film is – you bring your own baggage to it, and take away your own interpretations. A true piece of art, then.
I saw it at the LFF originally (my review is below) at a punishingly early 9AM screening, and stumbled out of the cinema totally discombobulated. I saw it again last night and thought I’d be able to take it more in my stride.
Wrong. It’s still an enormous kick in the balls, and some of the extended takes were torturously suspenseful this time around, as I knew what was coming. This time though I was able to appreciate the acting and direction a bit more – the extended dinner date sequence in particular just floored me this time. I listened to a review on the (excellent) Filmspotting podcast where the reviewer said he felt that his particular extended take was needlessly showy, which I couldn’t disagree more with more fundamentally.
That scene is one of the best cinematic representations of a date I’ve ever seen, and it’s all tied into that long, static take. You notice things you would never notice in a more standard two shot – the body language, the fidgeting, the level of eye contact, their position in the restaurant and their relationship to the other diners. It’s a mini-masterpiece.
Anyway, there’s an extract from my LFF review below and a link to the full version. Go see SHAME – if only because all of your friends are going to be talking about Michael Fassbender's dong for the next month (not to mention Carey's Mulligan), and you don’t want to be the only one without an informed opinion, do you?
From the Cigarette Burns LFF review:
Where it most resembles AMERICAN PSYCHO is in Brandon’s chameleon-like nature, that you feel has been developed over time in order to hide his deep inner torment. He tries on different masks for different situations - the playful, enigmatic suitor on a date; the dead-eyed predator at a bar; the embarrassed, apologetic friend at a club – all with the ultimate intention of establishing the sexual connection that he desperately craves.
Unlike PSYCHO, however, SHAME never alleviates the proceedings with period satire, or ultraviolence, or absurdist touches. While there is humour in SHAME – a surprising amount, actually – this is not the black comedy that PSYCHO is: instead, it’s an intensely sad character portrait that actually says as much about inner-city life in the 21st century as it does about addiction and loneliness.
Read the full thing here.
I wrote far too many words on 50 Cent’s latest straight to DVD film Gun for Den of Geek. You can check it out here.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The final line of this review stated that ultimately Gun was “80 minutes of shameless self-aggrandizing from a boring dickhead’, but the Den of Geek editors saw fit to snip off the ‘boring dickhead’ part, possibly due to fear of reprisals from angry G-Units. BUT I’M NOT SCARED OF YOU.