Trailer Tuesday: Shame (2011)

[Video Link] The World's Best Ever reviews Shame, directed by Steve McQueen (this one, not that one).

Shame is the second feature film from visual artist Steve McQueen, and like his previous work, Hunger, it is visceral and mesmerizing.

Set in Manhattan, the film follows Brandon (Michael Fassbender), a 30-something corporate executive, as he struggles with sex addiction. He has casual encounters with women he meets on the streets, hardcore sex with prostitutes and masturbates to double-anal videos he stores on his hard drive at work.

Though the NC-17 film is rife with sex—in full-frontal detail—there is little pleasure in it. Instead, Shame captures what it’s really like to live with sex addiction: Brandon is devastatingly lonely and emotionally shut off from the world. That is, until his chartreuse sister (Carey Mulligan) comes to live with him, further complicating his life and exposing his shame.



      1. Actually the Autocorrect wasn’t the culprit. ‘Chartreuse’ was right. The actual error was that he just credited the wrong actor: the sister’s actually played by Kermit the Frog in a rare cross dressing attempt to nab the Tootsie vote for next years Best Actress Oscar. Don’t judge him. It’s not easy being green…

    1. Sorta wondered if his greenish sister was a (bizarre) nod to Star Trek… perhaps a cameo by William Shatner would be in order.

    2. Assuming they’ve changed their gender-specific admission standards, perhaps she is one of the two Carthusian monks that know the secret recipe to what I recall as being a thoroughly intoxicating elixir.

  1. < until his chartreuse sister (Carey Mulligan)

    Carey Mulligan has many admirable attributes (I can't blink while gazing upon her), but being halfway between yellow and green isn't one of them.

    But, it's less fun if "chanteuse" was the intended word!

  2. Chanteuse doesn’t make a lot of sense either. It’s a noun. Plus, if she’s a singer, why not just say that?

    1. Some people just gotta use stilted or antiquated language, like the way newspapers have to use “tembler” every time there’s an earthquake, or some sports writers have to use “cagers” and “tankers” and “pugilists” to avoid repeating the more common words like basketball players, swimmers (?) and boxers. Sometimes it’s better to repeat the common word than use a startling archaic synonym.

      1. Some people just gotta use stilted or antiquated language…

        Or some people recognize that different words have different shades of meaning which are, apparently, imperceptible to the Basic English crowd.

        1. Not imperceptible. I know what “chanteuse” means (as well as chartreuse), but the word choice here seemed aesthetically displeasing. My bad, it’s just a stylistic choice, and I’m guilty of forgetting YMMV.

          1. ‘Chanteuse’ has a noir flavor, which may or not be appropriate, since I haven’t seen the film.

      2. I noticed while still a lad that newspapers invariably use the word “temblor” second in the body text.  “MASSIVE QUAKE STRIKES ATLANTIS” would be the headline.  Then the story goes, “A devastating earthquake struck the mythical sea-colony of Atlantis Thursday afternoon.  The temblor registered 9.8 on the Richter scale, and is thought to be attributable to the flatulence of the slumbering deity Poseidon, who has demonstrated a hunger for refried beans this week.”

        Not once in my life have I seen the word “temblor” used in any other context but the second sentence in a news release, and believe you me, for thirty plus years, I’ve been looking.

    1. yea its a fun flick but it gets blown out of proportion a lot. most people who reference it probably havent seen it in 20+ years.

  3. ‘Chanteuse sister’ makes perfect sense. If she were a writer, ‘author sister’ would make sense. ‘Sculptor sister’, etc. You see her in the trailer singing.

  4. I really wish people would stop using the term “sex addiction”.  There’s no such thing.  This character may have compulsive sexual behaviors, but he certainly doesn’t have a sex “addiction”.  Sexual compulsive behaviors are not addictions, they don’t act like addictions, and they aren’t treated like addictions.

    Bah, what am I saying?  Since when has the movie industry ever cared about accuracy?  :P

      1. there are no peer reviewed studies highlighting sex addiction. Teufelaffe argues correctly regarding compulsiveness. So easy with the pop culture hey :)

      1. read up on evolutionary psychology and you’ll see why Teufelaffe is right. Anything else is just pop culture with a touch of hysteria. we need to be careful about referring people to these sites that are not peer reviewed. 

    1. Sexual compulsive behaviors are not addictions, they don’t act like addictions, and they aren’t treated like addictions.

      [Teufelaffe faps wildly with one hand and angrily types this on keyboard with other]

    1. After having just started watching the old Batman series with my young kids, I’m ashamed to say that it took me 30 years to realize that the green babe in ST:TOS was Batgirl…

    2. What a chartreuse sister might look like.

      That’s an emerald green sister.  This is a chartreuse sister.

  5. So, if you’re rich enough to buy sex, or smooth enough to get it for free pretty frequently, you’re a sex addict. The rest are just poor schlubs who jerk off a lot? Or are at least not as interesting to make a movie or tv show about.

  6. Hold on while I shed a tear for a 30-something Manhattan executive with more money than he can count. Oh, he’s rich, but trust me, you don’t want to be rich! Because they’re all crying on the inside!!

    1. well he does have to fuck all these beautiful women…it must be a real struggle to get up every morning…

      1. Of course not, but there’s a limited amount of human suffering that I’m able to absorb and empathize with and prefer to save that empathy for, oh, I don’t know, the human trafficked prostitutes this rich guy is fucking. For example. It’s like Up in the Air. Remember? Where we were supposed to feel sorry for the guy getting paid millions to go around firing everyone? Fuck. That.

    2. I see your point… But how many people would want to see the movie if it were about some fugly, struggling loser who can only afford equally unappealing  ‘casual encounters’ on Craigslist?

  7. It’s about contentment vs. a false need. Addictions set off chemical changes in the brain that cause you to want. Whatever it is, you want it, and when you get it it’s not enough so the next time you want more of it. So whether it’s sex or money or food or heroin or whatever, a lot of people have lost the ability to be content. It’s something that has to be re-learned. 

    So. pjk, it isn’t about the money. There are plenty of rich people out there who have learned contentment and share what they have. Peterblue11, it isn’t about the sex. There are plenty of people out there that have amazing sex with a loving partner and are content. There are also those without either who are content, and those without that are not content and may develop the same problems given the opportunity. 

    If we are to feel sorry for anyone it’s those who have forgotten or have never learned to be content, and the people they hurt trying to fill whatever hole they feel they have to fill.

    1. They’re not content because they never looked.  And if they say they looked, they never looked underneath THAT.

    2. I understand all that and it’s all true. My point was that if I’m going to spend my time empathizing with suffering, this particular kind of suffering of this particular person seems pretty far down on the global scale – actually even on the American scale – of suffering. I’m not saying all movies should be about deadly serious suffering, but if you’re going to make a movie that PURPORTS to be about deadly serious suffering, it better damn well be deadly and serious, because God knows there’s plenty out there. Instead, lots of (most?) American movies and books tend to pass off upper-middle class worries and stresses and Stuff My Therapist Told Me as worthy of high art about the human condition. It’s American decadence at its finest. Obviously Mr. McQueen is free to make whatever kind of movie he wants, but if you want to make a movie about sex addiction, why not make it about a father of three from Staten Island? I mean, Requiem for a Dream isn’t a perfect movie, but at least it’s not about some i-banker addicted to blow.

      1. There’s all kinds of suffering in the world.  It can be hard to feel empathy for all of it, but I think it’s ultimately worthwhile.

        And McQueen is British; born and raised in London.

        1. “And McQueen is British; born and raised in London.”

          Ha! I was afraid of that. Note to self: Google everything.

  8. Serious Movies show sex as being dreary and unerotic. (Cf: Shortbus.) If a movie shows sex as being, you know, fun and pleasurable, then it’s nasty porn. The most important thing, apparently, is to make sure that any Serious Movie about sex is as unerotic and unarousing as possible.

    Can you imagine this in any other genre? Comedy: “Well, you see, the thing that is important about my movie is that it is actually not funny at all.” Action adventure: “The thing that makes my movie artistic is that no one will actually be thrilled by it at any point.”

    If someone actually thinks that making a movie with lots of skin that is “about sex addiction” is a brave new artistic statement, they have just awoken from cryogenic suspension since 1952.

    1. This preview is clearly failing at selling a ‘Serious Movie’ then… Because all I could think was that if most one-night-stands looked like that, I’d have sought them out a lot more in my single years ;)

    2. Re: Shortbus

      What?! Really? Sure, there is some unconfortable/funny/weird sex in Shortbus. There were also some scenes that were incredibly hot. & It was all real sex/& penetration, too. 
      Sounds pretty true to life to me. 
      I really thought that was the point of the movie – you can show real sex & not have it be Porn. 

      1. Mitchell has made a big point that he does not want or expect anyone to be turned on by Shortbus. So, I guess if you were turned on, you’re watching it wrong. :)

      2. For about five minutes, Shortbus seems to be about sex, and then it’s very much about despair and alienation. Something about the guy jizzing into his own mouth and then silently weeping.

        1. I dunno.  The guy singing The Star-Spangled Banner into another guy’s ass was a moment of high hilarity for me.  There was plenty of despair and alienation in that movie, sure, but I also thought I saw heaps of hope and sweetness there, too.  I’ll have to watch it again.  I loved that movie, and I don’t remember it being a downer in the end.

    3. Totally agree. 

      Case in point, the french movie “Stories of sex”, directed by a former porn actress and which was given an X rating in France, effectively killing any chance of it ever turning a profit. Because, you see, as it featured fun and hot sex scenes it was considered porn. Whereas a Breillat movie, displaying the same amount of sex, does so in a tormented and moralizing way, hence the “artistic” label and the NC-17 rating.

  9. Is this NSFW? I’m tempted to watch it, because there’s really no way I can say anything about it otherwise. Except the guy needs to give McQueen his name back.

    1. Maybe we can make the other guy stick to “Steven McQueen,” as he was credited in The Blob.

      Then again, I don’t think anyone could have made that McQueen do anything.

      BTW, the trailer posted above is SFW. There’s a red-band trailer linked to the article, but it appears to be hosted on Facebook, so I can’t tell you just how redbandy it is.

  10. Sounds like an upscale version of this thing in my Netflix queue:
    I Am a Sex Addict

    In this provocative autobiographical tale, filmmaker Caveh Zahedi uses an unconventional mix of home movies, candid confessionals, reenactments and animation to chronicle his long struggle with sex addiction.

  11. Chartreuse has been changed to chanteuse in the linked article. I now want someone to make a movie about a chartreuse girl … who also happens to be a chanteuse.

  12. A sexy movie full of erotophobia. How depressing. I’d rather watch “Now & Later” (available from Netflix on streaming or DVD).

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