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In a nutshell: Fassbender puts the phwoarr into addiction.

Popcorn rating: 4/5

Warning: I have just come back from watching Shame. And I’m not quite sure I’m back to myself yet. Cold flannel anyone? Anyway, on with the review. Let me begin by saying that Shame, written and directed by the award winning Steve McQueen (who also made the excellent Hunger), is groundbreaking on many levels. First off, this movie shows off a lot of, well, appendages, of the male variety, which is surely a first for Holly”wood”.

Yes, ladies and gents, make yourself comfortable because you’re soon going to find yourself becoming very acquainted, up close and personal in fact, with Irish stallion, ahem, I mean err, rising star Michael Fassbender’s family jewels (he’s a healthy lad young Fassbanger and, speaking as an Irishman myself, entirely indicative of the rest of us.)

Aside from Fassbender’s prowess, the movie also focuses on sex addiction, as personified by thirty-something New Yorker Brandon (Fassbender once again proving he is one of the best actors of his generation), emotional neediness (Brandon’s annoying, needy sister Cissy, played by Carey Mulligan) and then there’s Fassbender’s annoying, hyper-active boss. With his sister no living with him, Brandon founds himself ever more caged in, needing to break free in ever more extreme ways.

Once you get to meet Brandon’s boss and sister you soon understand why he does what he does. Both on their own are bad, having no concept of the term personal “boundaries” and personal “space”, but together these two are bloody insufferable. No wonder the poor b*****d ends up with a sex addiction.

Anyway, explicitness aside, Shame is a compelling, unflinching movie which explores the wretchedness of sex addiction. Definitely worth a watch. I recommend, and if that’s not enough, the great Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times named it his second best film of 2011. So, go on, off you go to the cinema.

Reviewer: TJ McCabe

Looking for more? Check out the trailer and cast interviews on our Shame storify: