Shame

Shame ★★★★½

A quiet masterpiece that slowly and quietly builds until its final frame.

Shame is easily my favorite film of all time, and for great reason: it's fucking amazing. Most everything about this film is damn near flawless; the acting, the cinematography, the score, the set design, the character development, and of course, the crowning achievement, the direction.

Steve McQueen's style is unmistakable (near Kubrickian). His most powerful trademark: letting scenes saturate and walk the line of overstaying their welcome. The most obvious examples would be the conversation in Hunger or the toe-tip scene in 12 Years a Slave. However, my personal favorite comes from Shame. Near an hour into the film we see Brandon sitting on the couch watching an old cartoon. Sissy soon joins him, and what starts out as a tender brother-sister moment (as tender as their unnerving relationship can be) slowly escalates into a very controlled violent outburst. Marrying the innocence of the background cartoon with the sexual dialogue and abusive body language all makes for a powerhouse of a scene that steals the show. "New York, New York" being the other highly notable scene from the film as the camera only cuts away from Carrey Mulligan two or three times in a near 5-minute span.

Shame is a wonderfully downer of a film that I could write a 80 page thesis on, but essentially my love boils down to the fact that it illuminates the illusion of control. It's a story of a broken person trying to hold together something far too gone to salvage. I can't recommend it enough.

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