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Shame – 2011 McQueen
- A brave unflinching character study directed with such stylistic bravado
- New York City looks incredibly harsh here—severe- punitive— McQueen shows this with the lighting, the architecture, (that boat shot in isolation) but also in the high-rises, the running at (always alone even in a sea of people) and in the haunting rendition of “New York New York” sung by Mulligan
- Mulligan- in that scene is both acting and singing well- hard to do and it’s in a long take chopping off her forehead.
- Dogged, painful and real—the entire first date with Nicole Beharie. Wow. 6 minutes long with the waiter coming in and out. The best of neo-realism with clear improvisation and the duration of the shot working on you.
- The cold exacting Bach piano selections on the soundtrack
- McQueen uses a color palate similar to Eastwood’s run in the early 2000’s (Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby)- it’s gorgeous, greys, blues, greens—he’s one of the most talented photographers in cinema- how many other auteurs if any could make the bed sheets looks like that
- Formally wonderful subway non-dialogue sequences bookend the film (though I think Fassbender’s character seems like more of a cab guy- but what do I know?)
- Sterile—white, clear blues, grays
- more than one critic correctly points to American Psycho for a comparison to the character and all around project—I think Taxi Driver is another—you could write an amazing piece comparing
- he’s like a functioning (barely) alcoholic
- formal editing in the beginning—the blinds go up, walking around his sterile condo naked, turning on the shower, Mulligan playing on the voice mail, back to the subway in cross cut
- Fassnbender’s best work to date and that’s saying something
- There are narrative and psychological cues like Mulligan’s (his sister) not afraid of her nudity in front of her brother. McQueen keeps the camera on that. And then, more readily, she says “we’re not bad people- we just come from a bad place” which is haunting
- Long tracking shot of running in isolation.
- Character through architecture. Dazzling shot of Fassbender in the foreground with a few window lights on in this huge high-rise with people having sex over his shoulder
- Glass again and again- mirrors
- Nastiness in the dialogue- a fight between the two siblings shot in one take from behind their heads on the ouch- Bergmanesque punch in the dialogue- he eviscerates her like Winter’s Light
- Brave and uncompromising: NC-17, Fassbender doing the sex scenes- male and female
- It’s an art film- long silences, great shot of him waiting for the elevator for forever fearing for his sister
- MS/MP border- leaning masterpiece