Shame ★★★★

In this chain of painfully uncomfortable situations, sex doesn't quite lead to orgasmic climaxes and instead leads towards social and personal downfall.

To call Steve McQueen's raw and unashamedly painful Shame depressing would be an understatement. What should be an expression of emotional and psysical attraction instead shapes itself as an obsessive habit, a gnawling persistence, snatching every single opportunity that might perhaps lead towards such kind of joys.

With a tender, understanding approach to the unmistakable awkward subject matter and an outstanding, involving central performance from Michael Fassbender, this is more than just a compelling portrayal of a lonely man. It allows us to get an intimate insight into an aching addiction, one leading to misunderstanding, distance and sorrow. When fate suddenly brings him together with his mentally debilitated sister, in a superb performance from Carey Mulligan, not only does he have to deal with his own near unbearable issues, but also with hers. And despite the presence of an undeniable fondness between the two, the relationship remains difficult.

A few times the plot almost threatens to fall into predictable melodrama, but it's never actually reaching that point. It's always heightened by nuanced storytelling and every time you think it might be starting to drag, another powerful scene appears to remember you of the fact that this nightmare still isn't over. Enhanced by dreary cinematography and a deeply bitter score, this heartbreaking drama is nothing less than impressive.

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