Shame (2011)

shame_4Starring Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Nicole Beharie, Lucy Walters, Alex Manette, Hannah Ware

Directed by Steve McQueen

Expectations: Fairly high.

twohalfstar


Shame is the type of movie that is supposed to make you think, where the ending is more ambiguous than conclusive, demanding a good after-film discussion so that you can wrap your brain around what you just saw. I say “supposed to” because while it was clearly the intent of director Steve McQueen, it definitely did not have that effect on me while I was watching. Well, I did think about why so many people seem to regard this film so highly, but I don’t think that counts. 🙂

Shame is about sex addiction and the shame that surrounds it. Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a sex addict, and he has no intention of doing anything about it. In the first few minutes of the film we see that his life is largely composed of consuming porn, masturbating and having anonymous sex wherever he can get it. But one day he returns home to find his sister (Carey Mulligan) in his shower, hoping to stay awhile with him. This definitely wasn’t in his plans, but he allows her to stay.

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Drive (2011)

Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Kaden Leos, Jeff Wolfe

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Expectations: High, everyone’s hype has gotten to me.


If only Drive was able to keep up the level of awesome displayed in its opening scene. The first ten minutes of the film are pure, intense filmmaking filled with tension, suspense and fantastic editing. There’s virtually no dialogue: only wonderful sound FX, the chatter of a police radio and intensely brilliant visuals. This getaway scene is everything I could ever want out of a movie called Drive, and honestly, I would have been better served by the film if I had just gotten up upon its conclusion and taken my satisfied grin with me.

With an opening like this, and a title like Drive, one wouldn’t be wrong to expect a movie that contains lots of car action. Drive only gets more and more frustrating as it goes on if you have these expectations though, as very little actual driving takes place. Literally, the next substantial driving scene after that extended prologue is about an hour later. C’mon, WTF! If this is the case, what takes up so much of Drive‘s time then, you ask? Poor character development and clichéd romance & mafia sub-plots, that’s what!

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Mini-Review: An Education (2009)

Starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Emma Thompson, Olivia Williams, Cara Seymour, Sally Hawkins, Matthew Beard, Ellie Kendrick, Beth Rowley

Directed by Lone Scherfig

Expectations: Super low, but Nick Hornby wrote the script so I do expect it will be well written.


There’s nothing wrong with this movie, but there isn’t really anything special about it either. Sure, Carey Mulligan is a great new talent and really shows off her ability in her role, but there’s not much else to get excited about here. What’s the point of it all?

The film is competently made and the dialogue is well written. The acting is very good all around. I’m a big Alfred Molina fan and I wasn’t aware that he was in this, so that was a welcome surprise. Despite the fact that they got these key things right, they forgot to have an interesting story. The whole thing for me just exudes this air of being wonderfully okay.

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