Luís Seixas’s review published on Letterboxd:
Shame both is and isn't about addiction. On one hand, it is about sex addiction and the way it affects both the psychological and moral aspects of an individual, as well as the suffering it causes to other people, in any way related to said individual. On the other hand, it is both a character study on a man whose life is entering a downward spiral, as well as a reflection on the crumbling relations of the modern era. No matter how you look at it, this film excels in both of those issues, and manages to be an extremely harrowing and depressing cinematic experience.
The narrative here, while definitely gripping, mostly serves the purpose of the character study of its protagonist, Brandon, whose sex addiction generates social ineptness, psychological and moral decay, as well as corrosion of overall social bonds. The writing here is absolutely perfect, and manages to derive from its narrative while never losing its essence, balancing a gripping plot with an interesting and profound character study.
This film's cinematography is truly something worth all the praise I can give it. There isn't a single shot here that is not fantastic, and some of them manage to linger for a long time without ever feeling unecessary, in fact, they are the opposite of that. I can't emphasise enough how great this film looks: the dark environments, the captivating camera work, the lightning, everything really.
When it comes to performances, everyone delivers their absolute best and it shows, since every performance here is fantastic, but Michael Fassbender is definitely the greatest here, his acting is just on point: moving without ever feeling unrealistic. I was expecting a great performance from him but this definitely blew my expectations by a long shot.
The soundtrack is excelent, very present without ever feeling intrusive, and adding more to the film's depressing nature. On a sidenote, when Brandon and his boss entered the bar and the band was playing "My Favorite Things", that got me very, very happy.
I'll be completely honest, I have a little bias when it comes to films regarding addiction. When well executed, they manage to be great studies on the human psyche in my opinion, and Shame excels at that.