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File: Shame 2012
Shame is a 2012 British drama film co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. Shame was co-produced by Film4 and See-Saw Films. Shame's explicit sexual scenes resulted in this film being rated NC-17 in the United States.
Fox Searchlight Pictures paid around $400,000 to acquire the United States distribution rights of Shame. The film opened in limited release in the United States on December 2, 2011.
Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a 30-something yuppie living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life and urges. After his wayward younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment, Brandon’s world spirals out of control.
Director Steve McQueen worked with producer Iain Canning on the 2008 film Hunger and they reunited to develop Shame with Canning and Emile Sherman's UK/Australia-based See-Saw Films. McQueen's acclaimed lead actor in Hunger, Michael Fassbender, was the first and only choice to play the lead role in Shame. Actors Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale joined the cast in December 2010 to play the little sister and boss, respectively, of Fassbender's character. Screenwriter Abi Morgan was chosen to produce the script, making it one of two films she worked on with Film4 (the other being The Iron Lady).
Production was scheduled to begin on location in New York in January 2011, though Fassbender later commented in an interview that he just began shooting his scenes in early March. Filming ended late May for re-shoots, and post-production began.
Shame premiered at The 68th Venice Film Festival in the main competition. Fassbender won a Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his role in the film. It was also screened at The 36th Toronto International Film Festival, The 49th New York Film Festival, The 55th BFI London Film Festival and The 34th Starz Denver Film Festival.
Shame will be officially released in the United Kingdom on January 13, 2012. Fox Searchlight distributed the film in the US. The film was rated NC-17 (no one 17 and under admitted) by the Motion Picture Association of America. Searchlight has not planned to appeal the rating or make cuts for the less-restrictive R rating. Searchlight president Steve Gilula said, "I think NC-17 is a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter. We believe it is time for the rating to become usable in a serious manner".
Shame has received positive reviews. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 79% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 135 reviews, with an average score of 7.4/10, making the film a "Certified Fresh" on the website's rating system. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 72, based on 38 reviews, which indicates "Generally favorable reviews".
Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times called Shame "a powerful film" and "courageous and truthful", commenting that "this is a great act of filmmaking and acting. I don't believe I would be able to see it twice." in a four-star review. Ebert would later name it his second best movie of 2011. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, stating: "Driven by a brilliant, ferocious performance by Michael Fassbender, Shame is a real walk on the wild side, a scorching look at a case of sexual addiction that's as all-encompassing as a craving for drugs."
Dan Bullock of The Hollywood News said 'Shame is captivating and intensely intimate. McQueen has followed up Hunger with an unflinching and compelling film that explores the depths of addiction and the consequential destruction and demise of the mind and although it is sometimes difficult to watch, you won’t be able to keep your eyes off it.'
Justin Chang of Variety magazine gave the film a positive review, commenting: "A mesmerizing companion piece to his 2008 debut, Hunger, this more approachable but equally uncompromising drama likewise fixes its gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body, as Michael Fassbender again strips himself down, in every way an actor can, for McQueen's rigorous but humane interrogation."
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