Shame tells the story of a sex addict’s joyless need for physical pleasure, and Michael Fassbender offers a stunning performance, critics say. But they’re divided over whether the film has much else to offer:
- Fassbender’s work “may lay claim to this year’s title of most outstanding performance in a mediocre movie,” writes Dana Stevens in Slate. “This sleek-looking but curiously unfocused character study never quite gets down to the business of showing us who Brandon is, but boy, does Fassbender make him into a captivating enigma.”
- Director Steve McQueen tries hard, but he doesn’t quite succeed, notes AO Scott in the New York Times. The film is “ caught between therapeutic melodrama and melodramatic despair.”
- Roger Ebert is less dubious. “This is a great act of filmmaking and acting,” he writes. But with all its graphic despair, “I don't believe I would be able to see it twice.”
- In the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan is impressed with the movie’s “dispassionate treatment of a disturbing topic.” He agrees with Ebert: Thanks to Fassbender, it’s “a film that is difficult to watch but even harder to turn away from."
is the latest of many films you won't want to see twice
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