Starring the now ubiquitous Michael Fassbender, Steve McQueen’s Shame is generating a lot of buzz and comment over its depiction of a man hopelessly lost in sexual addiction and compulsion.

Although it looks like being far from an easy watch (Jon’s review describes it as difficult, mesmerizing and intelligent), many of the very best films are so. Now, in the good old US of A, the MPAA (their version of the UK’s BBFC) have handed down an NC-17 rating, which (if I understand these things correctly) means that you must be 17 or over (rather than merely accompanied by an adult) in order to see it in theatres.

Not many US theatrical releases receive such a certificate, indeed it tends to be seen as box-office poison, as many media outlets refuse to carry adverts for films  with an NC-17 rating. Most film-makers will make cuts to bring their films within the far more respectable R rating, though there is no indication that McQueen will take that route. Indeed, Fox Searchlight head Steve Gilula has taken a fairly bullish approach to the rating and commented as follows:-

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. The sheer talent of the actors and the vision of the filmmaker are extraordinary. It’s not a film that everyone will take easily, but it certainly breaks through the clutter and is distinctive and original. It’s a game changer.

Apparently the rating was handed down in this case for “explicit sexual content”, which given the film’s arc and themes seems utterly unsurprising. If Jon is to be listened to on the subject (and he really is), the film is a must see and so if you are old enough and can stomach the subject matter, it seems like one to seek out, NC-17 or not.

Source: Variety and SlashFilm.

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Dave has been writing for HeyUGuys since mid-2010 and has found them to be the most intelligent, friendly, erudite and insightful bunch of film fans you could hope to work with. He’s gone from ham-fisted attempts at writing the news to interviewing Lawrence Bender, Renny Harlin and Julian Glover, to writing articles about things he loves that people have actually read. He has fairly broad tastes as far as films are concerned, though given the choice he’s likely to go for Con Air over Battleship Potemkin most days. He’s pretty sure that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the most overrated mess in cinematic history.