Shame is the story of a sex addict.
Brandon is a slick executive working in New York with an all consuming obsession with sex, prostitutes and pornography. His whirlwind of a sister arrives to crash at his pad and pursue her career as a singer. This fragile relationship is key to the film and seeks to explain the extreme and erratic behaviour of the pair.
We’re not bad people. We just come from a bad place.
Michael Fassbender was truly brilliant in this film. Wandering around Brandon’s beautiful flat with the beautiful view and the beautiful women strewn over his bed, Fassbender simply highlights the ugly inner turmoil that consumes his character’s life. The most crushingly touching moment of this film comes when Brandon is unable to have sex with the one woman he actually cares for. The whole sequence was emotionally charged, choreographed expertly and perfectly executed – Fassbender was completely absorbing.
The musical score is a triumph and helps tell the story as well as Fassbender does. In Brandon’s evening of debauchery as he starts to unravel the music was tremendous; the delicate, controlled and quiet violins contrast starkly with the sex on screen. The depth of the score ignites more passion than Brandon is enjoying; you end up pitying Brandon, his life, his addiction and his self-destructive revulsion.
But what I most loved about this film was that it wasn’t crass. A film about a sex addict could become a glorified porno but what director Steve McQueen manages to do is keep it all about the emotions involved. At times this is a difficult watch, but that is credit to the stellar performances from Fassbender and Mulligan and the superb direction of McQueen. The raw, painful scenes are the most compelling; this is a sad tale of modern times. Loneliness, isolation, family problems, our career-driven, busy, busy lives. It’s all echoed in the situation we find Brandon in. Whilst we’re not all sex addicts, ‘normal’ people all suffer these same emotions and burdens, they just find other means of escape.
I would really recommend Shame, it’s a wonderful film. But as a word of warning, maybe don’t watch it with your parents… There’s a lot of sex and a lot of Michael Fassbender’s penis. Just sayin’.
Have you seen Shame? What did you think to it?? Leave links and comments below!