Kenny’s review published on Letterboxd:
Shame is one of those films that you don't really want to watch with other people. Mainly because of the subject matter, which in this case is sex addiction. And just for a warning for those who get easily offended by explicit sexual acts, this film does contain ass-licking, Yes, you read that right: ass-licking.
Now that we have that out of the way, Shame follows Brandon, a polished good-looking young man living New York. He has a great job and his life seems great on the outside, but he's actually a sex addict. And for a good portion of the beginning of this film, we get a look at how he tries to satisfy himself in the weirdest ways. Then one day, his singer sister, Sissy, comes along and things get worse for Brandon even more.
Michael Fassbender delivers an electric performance in this film like I've never seen him before on screen. It was very refreshing it see how Steve McQueen decided to instead of present us a character of a usual addict we all picture in our minds (dirty guy living in an alleyway), he gave us a character that seems that he has everything all together and living his life with no problems.
I love how McQueen showed off New York City in both lights. The glamorous, rich part of New York and the dark, grimy part of New York. Usually films portray the Big Apple in one way and not both, so I have to applaud McQueen on that. I also really liked the long tracking shot of Brandon jogging through the city, but it took out of the film for a bit and some other scenes in the film could definitely have been cut down just a tad.
Another factor of Shame that I enjoyed was James Badge Dale as Brandon's boss, David. While also loving him in Iron Man 3 earlier this month, Dale just brings this certain type of charisma to this role that I just eat up every single time he is on screen. Carey Mulligan as Brandon's sister, Sissy, was pretty good, but just completely slaughtered the song "New York, New York". It was just really cringe-inducing, but overall, didn't take away from the quality of the film.
Shame is a hard to watch film at times, which makes it even better. With an intriguing plot and lead plus the great cinematography and outstanding direction by the promising Steve McQueen, Shame is an amazing film.