- Summary: Brandon is a New Yorker who shuns intimacy with women but feeds his desires with a compulsive addiction to sex. When his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment stirring memories of their shared painful past, Brandon's insular life spirals out of control. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
- Director: Steve McQueen
- Genre(s): Drama
- More Details and Credits »
"Shame" examines the nature of need, and how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us. "Shame" leaves us to internalize our thoughts, asking us to paint our own cinematic details in the gaps, and with the dark feeling that something black and heartless has been communicated most powerfully. Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a good-looking, young man in his early 30's, who lives alone in a sterile condo in Manhattan. He works in a cubicle with a computer. Never mind what his company does. It makes no difference to him. Sometimes in the evening, he and his boss, David (James Badge Dale), go out to drink in singles bars. David is a outgoing and throwing out pick-up lines. Brandon just sits there, his face impassive, knowing he doesn't have to. He shuns intimacy with women but feeds his desires with a compulsive addiction to sex. 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, and his life is a living hell. He is cold to everyone he encounters; prostitutes, co-workers, to strangers. On the subway, he trades eye contact with a woman who may be flirting with. He boldly maintains eye contact, but he doesn't smile. His is a dreadful life. His shame is masked in privacy. He wants no witnesses to his hookers, his pornography, his masturbation.
The introduction of Sissy (Carey Mulligan), Brandon's sister, injects spontaneity and life into this-up to this point-an almost emotionally desolate film. She is as passionate and uninhibited as he is the opposite. This encounter resurfaces stirring memories of their shared painful past, and Brandon's insular life and addiction begin to spiral out of control. She needs him desperately and that frightens him most. She works sometimes as a cabaret singer, and in one scene, she performs a fantastic rendition of "New York, New York" in close-up. This close-up also shows pain and grief of both, a truly beautiful moment captured. McQueen's camera gives us a mix of the highly-stylized and the stark, with frequent long takes giving the actors the narrative space to embellish scenes with depth. Fassbender for one, is often captured looking unseeingly at the ground, failing to register the world before him. It can get to be overwhelming and burdensome for some as the movie, as well as Brandon's addiction, progresses. But Michael Fassbender's powerful, gut-wrenching performance and Steve McQueen behind the camera is what makes this so extraordinary.… Expand
7Good movie but not as good as it may sound from the reviews.it's like they wanted to make a movie about sex addiction but they just didn't know how, so they filled it with ridiculous scenes (like that slow and boring rendition of New York, New York ), a lot of sex (which is fine) and made it quite monotonous.and I didn't notice much sexual tension between Brandon and Sissy (as some reviews suggested). to make a long story short this could have been much better movie.… Expand
4I admit it, the sluggish pace may have distracted me, but I didn't get the back story of the brother-sister. The main reason to see it is the frontal nudity of a soon-to-be major star, and the daring sex. But it is strangely clinical and unsexy, and sad, which I DO get is the point. Sigh.… Expand
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