To stay on track with controversy, it was a no-brainer to feature one of my top favorite films of last year. Today, I present Shame. If you haven’t heard of the film, I do caution you before viewing it. The film contains strong sexual content, earning the rare rating NC-17. The sex in the film is such an important element, since the main character Brandon, played by the awesome and sexy Michael Fassbender, is a nymphomaniac. Brandon struggles with the rusty relationship he has with his younger sister, his personal life and job because of his addiction.
The film was written by Abi Morgan and Steve McQueen, directed by Steve McQueen, cinematography by Sean Bobbitt and produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman. It received positive reviews and earned awards and nominations from film festivals and events. The consensus of what critics say about the film is brave and enticing. My favorite review is by Variety‘s Justin Chung:
“Few filmmakers have plumbed the soul-churning depths of
sexual addiction as fearlessly as British director Steve McQueen
has in Shame. A mesmerizing companion piece to his 2008 debut,
Hunger, this more approachable but equally uncompromising
drama likewise fixes it gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body,
as Michael Fassbender again strips hims down, in every way an actor can, for McQueen’s rigorous but human interrogation.
Confrontational subject matter and matter-of-face explicitness will
position the film at the higher end of the specialty market,
but it’s certain to arouse critical acclaim and smart-audience interest
wherever it’s show.”
This film was brave and enticing! I worship films that are courageous in subject matter and push the limits that shouldn’t exist. Sex is still a global taboo, which is probably the reason why it intrigued me so. I appreciate the world of sex and entertained by the different genres of sexuality like what “amateurs” do with a camera phone, the mild to wild methods people do to get off, the cheesy scenarios that end up in a hot predicament, those certain things that are extremely satisfying to some but disgusting to others and how shy people get when the topic is brought up.
What really interests me is the psychology behind sexuality. I’m amazed at the lengths people will go to find pleasure and what is considered to be sexual. As I listen and learn, I can’t help but wonder how and why, especially when it comes to out-of-the-box fetishes, acts that go beyond the classic missionary position. Freud relates anything sexual to one’s childhood and upbringing. So when I hear or see something new, I think of the possible scenarios or mind penetrating moments that could be the root of the sexuality at hand. I question whether this is my personal perversion. I do get a kick out of it.
Watching Shame did feed into my, I’ll be honest, certain obsession with sex. The long takes, along with the incriminating angles, made me feel like I was watching a case study. I got so involved with Brandon, piecing together what I could to figure out why he was suffering from his addiction, which affected his relationship with his sister, work, intimacy with women, his safety and put him face to face with an ultimate sacrifice. There are moments when he tries to fight against his urges but loses.
This film also shows how sex has evolved when it comes to access. Brandon had different ways to get his fix, even though he wanted to find passion, possibly love, but couldn’t pass his mental and physical barrier. Leaving this movie, I felt cum-drunk, yet empty and in desperate need to fill that “hole”.
I am also a big fan of how the movie was made. The sexual content was handled beautifully, tastefully exposed and relevant to the story. Brandon’s big sex scene towards the end of the film was adulteress, sexy and consuming. Again, the film contained a lot of long still takes. This gave tremendous focus and highlighted the importance of it’s meaning. I found it overwhelming, in a good way, because I couldn’t runaway from the emotions involved. To do these kind of shots, the acting has to be flawless, which it was. Michael Fassbender is one of the most versatile actors of today. Brandon’s sister Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan, was just as great. Her sorrow and desperation was poetically performed by Mulligan, especially during the scene when she sang “New York, New York”.
Like We Need to Talk About Kevin, I caution everyone before hitting playing. There is nudity and explicit sex scenes. It is available for home viewing, so definitely buy it, rent it or top the queues. Enjoy and be inspired.
Fox Searchlight’s Official Site