Shame by Steve McQueen (Hunger, Bear) is one of those films that will leave a mark in your mind and heart for a long time.Brandon (Michael Fassbender: Hunger, Jane Eyre) is a young wealthy man employed by a computer company in New York. He is addicted to sex. In the office, night bars, subway he cannot break free from the temptation of seduction. Masturbation and rapid intercourse without commitment bring him only a temporary relief. Brandon slowly becomes a slave of his unsatisfied desires.
McQueen talks more about the disease of alienation than sex itself. The compulsion of constant love-making, which doesn’t give peace to the protagonist, is compared to a hard day of disliked and exhausting work. Physical proximity, instead of linking, only leads Brandon to loneliness and emptiness.
Brandon’s life is disrupted by his sister Sissy (Carrey Mulligan: Never Let Me Go, An Education). She has blond hair, runs around the house in a white translucent shirt, goes to bed with a guy after 20 minutes and never cleans after herself. Sissy turns his life upside down. She also carries a dark secret of her own: self harming, attempted suicide and mental breakdown are part of her past and present life.
Steve McQueen, in a wise and balanced way, talks about the coldness of his main character and his panic-stricken fear of responsibility and ability to love. Sissy, on the other hand, is a fragile and sensitive young woman who tries to find her own way of living.Shame was filmed with great sensitivity, it is not only a bitter drama about a man caught in the bondage of his own drives, it is also a subtle diagnosis of today’s life, as Michel Houellebeg (Les Particules Elementaires) would say ‘sexual materialistic society in a state of permanent crisis, consumed by the illness of eternal failure’.
The film is compelling, heartbreaking and simply great.
Written by Maggie Gogler