Steve McQueen’s Shame is one of several films this year that seem to have decided to opt for ambiguity and understatement rather than outright obvious tell-tale signs. Michael Fassbender gives yet another great performance to compare with his work in Inglourious Basterds, Fish Tank and McQueen’s Hunger (in which he lost weight to play IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands) as Brandon, a Manhattan businessman whose posh high-rise lifestyle allows for him to indulge his sex addiction – whether it be adjourning to the public restroom for masturbatory thrills, filling his company hard drive with viral porn, or the countless meaningless encounters that take up his days and nights. His lifestyle is interrupted, as it were, by Cissy (Carey Mulligan, no less heartbreaking), his nightclub singer sister whose own past with Brandon is…ambiguous at best. Mulligan’s touchingly melancholy rendition of “New York, New York” is a stunning summation of everything that is wrong with these two broken-spirited souls.


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