By The Playlist | The Playlist November 1, 2011 at 7:15AM
The domestic trailer for "Shame" has arrived, and if you're a keen follower of this film, you'll realize this trailer is pretty much identical to the the U.K. version you've already seen. But the point is spreading the word for a controversial sexual drama that's been stamped with the dreaded NC-17 tag (though some are already posting this could work in the film's favor and calling it a "badge of honor").
Moreover, "Shame" features what is easily the most striking performance of the year by any male actor. Michael Fassbender's turn as a lonely sex-addict in New York who cannot connect with people beyond a sexual encounter is some incredibly haunting stuff. If it weren't for the fact the film had an NC-17 rating, you could pretty much slot him in as a lock for an Oscar nomination. But as such, the NC-17 rating, the male nudity and some of the relatively shocking (not really) sexual scenes, could prove to be a challenge for more conservative Oscar voters.
Frankly, the male nudity in the film is tame and overstated. Just brief shots of Fassbender walking around naked; nothing that anyone should blanche at, but clearly some prudes have already taken some kind of umbrage with the frank and sometimes raw depiction of sexuality in the film (it's not like there's close-ups of dongs or penetration or anything). Co-starring Carey Mulligan, "Shame" is English director Steve McQueen's follow-up to "Hunger," the film that placed both the filmmaker and Fassbender on the international map. It is also, without a doubt, one of the best films of the year; McQueen's work illustrates that he is the real deal and that "Hunger" was no fluke. In fact, he's one of the most exciting new filmmakers working today. Here's the official synopsis and here's our review from Venice:
Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a New Yorker who shuns intimacy with women but feeds his desires with a compulsive addiction to sex. When his wayward younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment stirring memories of their shared painful past, Brandon's insular life spirals out of control.
What's nice about this minimalist synopsis is that it strikes at what "Shame" is really about. See the title for Christ's sake; describing it as a sex-addiction film is far too reductive. If you want to get pretentious about it (or allow me to do so), this is about a man who is desperate to connect with people, but his despair, inner torment and self-loathing (and his past) only allows him to find brief solace through fleeting sexual gratification. And what's left unspoken in the picture is just as important as what's said (some have stated that Fassbender's performance is too minimalist, and they must be entirely missing the point). Fox Searchlight is releasing "Shame" on December 2nd. The picture will begin in a limited release first (likely New York and L.A.) which will be followed by a slow expansion plan. Make sure you catch it when it hits your city. Go to Apple to check out the trailer in HD or watch it and an extended scene below.
New clip embed via The Film Stage.