Shame is one of those films that I picked up because it sounded like a interesting little exploitation flick. The plot is pretty simple; Asta Cadell is out driving her motorcycle though the back roads of Australia when she stops to fix her bike she gets caught up in the gender and class politics of the town she has landed in. She is treated with hostility by the locals at first, but slowly becomes friendly with several of them, including Lizzy the daughter of the mechanic she has been staying with. Lizzy has been date raped, and many in the town seem to think that she deserved. Asta at first just wants to be on her way, but finds that she is has been pulled into the gender dynamics of the town, and steps up and encourages Lizzy to bring charges.
The film moves along pretty swiftly, and despite a more than a little melodrama comes to a conclusion without over staying it’s welcome. In many ways it is a time capsule of a time and a place. The attitude of many adults towards the victim of the date rape is of the puritanical 80s blame the victim variety that might seem out of date, but I am sure is still held in many quarters. There is also an undercurrent of class privilege threaded through the film, as the main date rapists is son of local factory owners. This element isn’t really explored very deeply, but is simply acknowledged.
Over all I was underwhelmed by the film, although I give it points for tackling the subject of date rape. I also liked that it was a strong female who is able to inspire the young women of the town to stand up for themselves. That said I don’t know that I am going to revisit it any time soon.