Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fassbender X 2


Steve McQueen’s oblique character study is a haunting, provocative thing. Michael Fassbender- who for my money along with Jessica Chastain gets the award for hardest working person in showbiz this year- is magnificent as the simmering sex addict whose life of ugly, unfulfilled sex is interrupted by his equally unhappy sister (Carey Mulligan). Directed within an inch of its life with breath-taking opening and closing montages, McQueen’s film doesn’t say much, instead expressing its psychology through spellbinding long takes and subtle lens focus. In short, "Shame" is a harrowing experience. I was largely unimpressed with McQueen's acclaimed debut, "Hunger", but I now sit ready to qualify him as a major new talent.

A Dangerous Method

The beauty of David Cronenberg is his unique ability to stage a film teetering on the brink of perversion, and then slowly pull back the exterior to reveal a conservative morality tale. With "A Dangerous Method", there's sadomasochistic sex, professional jealousy and repressed emotions framed within a James Ivory-tale of famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung (Fassbender) and his obsession with both a father-figure in Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) patient-cum-mistress Sabina (Keira Knightley). "A Dangerous Method" is talky and intellectually challenging... but also a bit sexy in the representation of Sabina's sexual desires that Jung awakes in her. Essentially the story of a destruction of the 'relationship' between everyone Jung calls friends in his life, "A Dangerous Method" is riveting in that dry, almost clinical way of Cronenberg. I wouldn't expect (or want) anything else.

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