- Casino Royale Review
- Carrie (1976)
- Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
- Trainspotting (1996)
- Rain Man (1988)
- Fatal Attraction (1987)
- Targets (1968)
- An Education (2009)
- Mirror, The (1974)
- Fargo (1996)
- Fight Club (1999)
- Do The Right Thing (1989)
- Report (1967)
- Is "The Sting" The Best Gambling Film Ever Made?
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Ox-Bow Incident, The (1943), Or 28 Angry Men
- Rome, Open City (1945)
- Spring in a Small Town (1948)
- Drive (2011)
- Vinyl (1965)
- Seconds (1966)
- Rosemary's Baby (1968)
- A Hollywood Invasion of Casino Halls
- Thin Man, The (1934)
- In The Heat of the Night (1967)
- All In: The Poker Movie, Player’s Best Tricks
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- 1001 Club - Skyfall (2012)
- 1001 Club - When Harry Met Sally... (1988)
- 1001 Club - Rain Man (1988)
Shame (2011) Or Who the Hell is Steve McQueen?
Starring: Michael Fassbender (Prometheus • Fish Tank), Carey Mulligan (Drive • An Education)
Directed By: Steve McQueen (Hunger • 12 Years a Slave)
Overview: The character study of a sexual addict living in New York and his relationship with his sister.
This paragraph is strictly for those who’ve seen the film, who never plan on seeing the film, or who don’t mind every hook, line and twister being ruined before they see it (you people are weird)...
Click here to skip the spoiler bit.
Shame opens with a red-haired woman on a subway, enticed by Brandon’s gaze. When she leaves, she flees, her ring finger prominently displaying the reason for her flight. Brandon chases, knowing she won’t be able to resist his temptation, but loses her. Over the next 100 minutes, we learn of Brandon’s ordeals and issues and, in the final scene, he again runs into that same red-haired woman. This time she is inviting, but Brandon is in a far different state of mind. His sister has barely survived a suicide and he knows his sexual addition - his shame - is partly responsible for her attempt. He looks up at the redhead and the film fades to credits, forever leaving us with the question of whether or not he’s grown and will refuse her, or if he will continue to be the sexual addict that we’ve learned of all this time.
To me it’s an incredibly satisfying ending, not because it asks a question we don’t quite know the answer to - a moral cliff-hanger, if you will – but because I can answer the question with absolute certainty: of course he goes to her. Naturally a man who has been brought to the brink of a chasm of anguish will take comfort in the thing he loves and understands most. Certainly a man in the throes of depression will chose instead to be in the throes of passion. Knowing that he could have this woman without a chase is not the satisfaction he seeks. Brandon does not derive pleasure from winning, he gets it from fucking, and it's unfinished business. It’s possible that this woman will provide the sex that will give Brandon his moment of clarity, will give him enough center and catharsis to work towards overcoming his addiction, but not banging a married woman in his depression is not hitting bottom; going through with it is. But all that comes after the sex with this woman is just guessing. What’s knowing is that that subway train redhead is a Godsend, the pure symbol of relief, of release and of rebirth that Brandon needs right now. Resisting that? No Sir, not Brandon - not in a million years.
Sometimes it’s hard to write a compelling Overview of a character study film, mostly because they don’t tend to have plots. As a matter of fact, I commented to my guest how much Shame felt like a tightly-plotted film because the events of the life we followed built our character so well. Those of you who are leery of potentially boring character studies need not worry with Shame, because - simply put - it’s a masterpiece.
Performance: 9 Cinematography: 9 Script: 8 Plot: 9 Mood: 10
Overall Rating: 90% (No Shame In Sharing This Masterpiece)
Steven Rodney "Steve" McQueen is the name of someone destined to have a life in Cinema. The London-born, Ansterdam-living director of Grenadian descent, his 2008 Hunger won the prize for Best First Feature film at Cannes, The Caméra d'Or. Shame has not only reminded me why I do this toiling through cinema thing yet time and again, but it’s reminded me that my study guide that is the 1001 List is good and great, especially since this would have otherwise gone under my radar. Shame has also inspired me to explore Steve McQueen’s other works, Hunger and 12 Years a Slave. I'm sure I'll not be disappointed.