After making its global premiere at the Venice Film Festival and winning the festival’s Best Actor award for Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds), Shame was picked up by Fox Searchlight and tapped for an almost immediate awards season release. Shame went on to become a critical darling of sorts, with Fassbender, director Steve McQueen (Hunger), and co-star Carey Mulligan (An Education), all receiving nominations and prizes from awards bodies the world over. The film centers around Fassbender’s sex-addicted character Brandon, and the film subject matter left it with an NC-17 rating. Although Shame went on to be one of highest-grossing films to ever receive the stigma-inducing rating, the number of theaters in which the movie could be shown was reduced drastically. As a result, Shame spent several months packing large audiences into a select few art-house theaters. Shame releases as a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack on April 17th, giving audiences domestically and abroad new access to this unique film. Here’s a look inside the Blu-ray release, to help you decide if you want to take Shame home with you tonight.

THE PLAYERS:

Director: Steve McQueen (Hunger)
Writer: Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady) and McQueen
Actors: Michael Fassbender (X-Men:First Class) and Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go)

Storyline: Brandon Sullivan (Fassbender) looks sexy and successful, but lives a life of solitude surrounding a dark secret. His world is thrown into turmoil upon the unexpected arrival of his sister Sissy (Mulligan). Through a manic bond, the tragic past the two siblings share brings long-buried emotions to the surface, and the siblings may face deadly and life-changing consequences.

WHAT YOU’LL LOVE:

For better or worse, the featurettes all feel as if they are essentially extended promos for the movie, all running about several minutes each. Although individually they leave something to be desired, as a whole, they add up to something insightful and informative. “Fox Movie Channel presents: In Character with Michael Fassbender” is the best of the lot, as Fassbender provides the audience some revealing tidbits about his preparation for the role and his process on set.

The featurette A Shared Vision explores the creative partnership of McQueen and Fassbender, which has now spanned two films, and may find them becoming the next great actor-director pairing.

The Story of Shame stands out, as it includes the Oscar-nominated Mulligan discussing working as a creative team with Fassbender and McQueen.

WHAT YOU’LL HATE:

The disc lacks any commentary of any kind.

Although both lead actors and McQueen are interviewed in the Special Features, Screenwriter Abi Morgan is noticeably absent from the proceedings.

Also unincluded are any extended scenes, deleted scenes, or gag reels.

Though the special features do leave an impact, and make a great deal out of a short running time, one wishes there had been generally more content available in the presentation of this fascinating film.

4 Responses to “Jackson’s DVD Review of Steve McQueen’s “Shame” starring Michael Fassbender”

  1. Too bad there isn’t a commentary, but in most ways this release does appear to be a winner. I’ll be picking it up for sure, as the film was one of last year’s best and a personal favorite. Great that American companies are more and more following the UK combo pack releases.

    Excellent review.

  2. Although this film suffered from a mixed critical response, McQueen’s Hunger from Criterion is also light on extras and lacks any commentary tracks. I assume McQueen just isn’t interested in doing them. Good film though. Maybe not for everyone, but Fassbender is excellent and the film itself is uncompromising in its portrayal.

  3. Yeah, I was thinking McQueen just likes to have the movie speak for itself. Also, I’ve heard he’s a stutterer so maybe that’s it.

  4. So Craig, you’re saying he likely couldn’t speak for his movies even if he wanted to :-)

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