Ian Hobbs’s review published on Letterboxd:
"We're not bad people. We just come from a bad place."
Steve McQueen's sophomore effort - an emotional and effective story in terms of relationships and need - Shame is only described as a powerhouse with powerful performances and a powerful script. McQueen's first film, Hunger, was a such a raw film with true emotion behind it and landed amongst some of the best films of 2008. Three years later, he returns with Fassbender to make this and it's easily one of the finest made films of the decade.
I may see how some people are thrown off my the overall amount of sex and sex related acts, but when you view it as a film with addiction and needs it's truly a remarkable feat, because McQueen & Abi Morgan handled the script perfectly. The balance of everything worked, the way characters are put in, and the way that the relationship builds between Brandon and Sissy is mesmerizing to see. I also love how grounded they keep the film. Its grippy and interesting, and that's the key element.
Directed beautifully by Steve McQueen and shot like a painting; Shame has to be one of the most gorgeous looking films of all time. New York City looks absolutely stunning to say the least and the way McQueen captures everything is brilliant. The longtakes, the final shot, the beautiful cinematography all comes together to make a masterwork the technical side. The music used throughout is also great. It captures the feel of the film so well, in a way I can't really describe.
The performances are what really hold the film together as Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan deliver two of the finest performances of the decade. Fassbender is perefct, possibly his best performance and one he deserved recognition for. He feels raw and powering. Lonely and afraid. He plays it all perfectly and I truly feel for his pain when the credits appear on screen. His chemistry and banter with Mulligan's Sissy is powerful. It has emotion and fear in it all. They are truly magnificent.
With only two films under his belt, and a heart for creating raw films, Steve McQueen has landed as one of the finest filmmakers still working today. I'm gonna be honest and say Shame left me disappointed and I didn't see the masterpiece everyone else did, but to say this isn't a great film would not be right. Held down by a powerful script, engaging performances, and beautiful cinematography; Shame is a damn good film and should be seen by everyone at least once.