Shame – review
‘SHAME’ is said to be “most provocative and compelling film of the year”. Then again, the year is only 11 days old so maybe it’s true. Knowing that the film has had best actor wins for Michael Fassbender at the Venice Film Festival and Moet British Independent Film Awards and a Golden Globe nomination as well, there were lots of expectations. Add to that the fact that it was produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, who also produced The King’s Speech one of my favourite films of 2011 and I was expecting great things.
Brandon (FASSBENDER) is a 30-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister (MULLIGAN) moves into his apartment, Brandon’s world spirals out of control. From BAFTA award winning director Steve McQueen (HUNGER), SHAME is a compelling and timely examination of the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us.
SHAME is compelling viewing for the entire 99 minutes. It was grim and at times almost uncomfortable to watch but mostly it was engrossing. Brandon has no real relationships with either men or women, his closest ‘friend’ being his boss who is really not a friend at all. He sleeps with any woman he can but they are always casual encounters, never to be repeated or with a paid-for professional. When his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) re-introduces herself to the world he has created for himself, that world starts to crack, he feels trapped, he is angry and things become tense and a little hard for the viewer to take. Both Sissy and Brandon’s lives are similarly on a downward spiral, though they do so in two very different ways.
What most people are saying or talking about in ‘SHAME’ is the sexual element and nudity. There is a lot of nudity, both male and female. There are a lot of sex scenes too. If either of these make you uncomfortable, this is not the movie for you. I remarked to someone last night after I had seen the movie that there was lots of sex and nudity in it – but not in a good way. It’s not sexy, it’s not attractive, it is part of the story. ‘SHAME’ is a fantastic movie peering into the life of Brandon and it was one that will keep you thinking and be on our mind for quite a while afterwards.
Would I recommend it? Definitely.
Would I go see it a second time? Maybe not.
Favourite moment? Carey Mulligan singing a rather unique version of ‘New York, New York’ in a club.