“Shame” makes into a lie the universal assumption in movies that orgasms provide a pleasure to be pursued. The film’s opening shot shows Brandon awake in the morning, staring immobile into space. He could be a man prepared to commit suicide. He gets out of bed, goes into the shower and masturbates. It will be the first of his many orgasms, solitary and with company, that day. He never reveals emotion. He lives like a man compelled to follow an inevitable course.
- Roger Ebert on Shame