Yup, this movie is deliciously filled with sex, nudity and violence as advertised with its distinctive NC-17 rating. Truly an adult movie, Shame talks about sex without talking dirty. After something like Hunger, I would almost be insulted if Steve McQueen didn’t take on a project involving a sex addict who hides from intimacy. There’s no better man to tastefully blast sexual shock-value to our soft-porn alternatives.
First of all, you get to see all of Michael Fassbender — front, back, side and other side. Everything is in clear view and nothing is left to the imagination. You know exactly what his character, Brandon, is going through. He has intimacy issues and copes with it through a variety of sexual indulgences, from porn to prostitutes, and so on. Can we give a round of applause to all the amateur naked women in these sex scenes that perfectly depict the modern-day desensitized sexual experience? Be careful who you bring to watch this movie with, you will get turned on. I don’t care if you’re male, female, bisexual, asexual, non-sexual, whatever; it’s inevitable.
I like that they chose to film this in today’s world. It’s a time where you can rent a hotel suite for a few hours just to shag, you can get a live strip tease in the comfort of your bedroom, and you can download years of porn on your work computer. You think you’d be shocked about all the sex scenes, but there’s no giggling, no clapping, no gasping. McQueen adequately portrays sex as both being the main element of Brandon’s life but also being the least important based on its abundance and recyclability. And yet, having a quiet dinner with a co-worker like Marianne (Nicole Beharie) is probably one of the most intimidating and humiliating things you’ll ever have to endure. I’m sure a lot of us will be able to relate to this situation a lot more than we’d like to admit. Now that’s a troubling thought!
Whoever drew the character for Sissy (Carey Mulligan) might as well be the cousin of American Psycho. She’s just as messed up as her brother, but it’s not as clear what her problem is. Maybe she’s at the point that Brandon reaches at the end of the film, where she’s figured out what her problem is and just needs Brandon to cooperate. Is it just me or are you way more intrigued with Sissy’s character than you are with Brandon’s awkward, solo, silent man swag that’s deliriously sexy, but nonetheless flat and predictable? This is where the story loses focus. The sex-addict is brilliantly played by Fassbender and beautifully shot by McQueen, but besides that fact we’re kind of left in the dark. So what? He’s addicted to sex. Some are addicted to drugs, some to alcohol, some to all three, what’s the real point of this movie? If you can answer that, you didn’t watch the movie.