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LFF 2011 Diary, Day 3: Shame (Rating: *****) One of the most explosively overwhelming films in recent memory, Shame will stick with you thanks to a procession of astonishingly powerful images, incredibly brave acting, and an unyielding style of direction from one of the brightest talents of British filmmaking. A film about the dark, yet largely untold, truths of sex-addiction, if Shame doesn’t effect you in some way, it’s nothing to do with the film. Shame is to ex-addiction to what Requiem For a Dream and Trainspotting was to drug addiction, and what Philadelphia was to the HIV epidemic. Shame gives a voice and expose to what is a terrrible affliction to suffer from. It ruins lives and relationships, confining sufferers to painfully secluded existences. If you thought Steve McQueen’s debut film Hunger was ambitious and provocative, Shame is some follow up. The film opens with a montage of Brandon, a successful and attractive businessman from New York, whose personal life consists of endless sexual encounters with both strangers and prostitutes. Played by the imperious Michael Fassbender, Brandon has neither any long standing relationships with either lovers or family, and his routine of excessive sexual activity is the only thing keeping him from losing control. That is until he reluctantly houses his impulsive and irrational sister Sissy, acted with an emotional kineticicsm by another stand out Brit Carey Mulligan. Sissy’s arrival however sends Brandon’s routine into flux and gradually finds himself unable to control the secret he is hiding from everyone. In the role of Brandon, Fassbender is fearless and proves there is little he won’t do to turn in another screen-grabbing performance. Something that could hinder both Fassbender and the film’s success at some of the more “prestigious”, and coincidentally more conservatice, awards ceremonies is its explicit nature and portrayal of this sexual underworld. Importantly, none of the content is gratuitous or unnecessary. There is a bare faced quallity to Shame; nothing is hidden away or ashamed to be shown. And the wave of emotion that is exudes from the screen is unlike many experiences you will have at the cinema. Though divergent in style to the psychosis of American Psycho, there is a similar sense of a brooding and broiling unspoken depravity under the membrane of New York. This is nothing to be sneereed at and if Shame has something to comment on, it is the tragic and broken nature in which some of us exist. JJ


LFF Diary, Day 3 - SHAME