Shame (18)

Directed by Steve McQueen
FACT Picturehouse
From 13th January 2012

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Although at times this film resembles a well produced blue movie, containing at times gratuitous sex scenes, there lies beneath it a deep and disturbing message.

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is fixated with sex, real and imagined, bordering on the addictive. He can't get enough. He never reaches fulfilment. The more sex he has the more he wants.

Director Steve McQueen, who worked with Fassbender on Hunger, captures the antics of the sexual junkie with unflinching detail.

One of the most disturbing scenes, even though no physical contact takes place, is early in the film. Brandon, while travelling on the subway en route to his job as an advertising executive, continually gazes upon a young woman sitting opposite him. At first she seems to enjoy his interest in her, although no words are spoken, but gradually she becomes noticeably agitated at his predatory stare. Clearly frightened, she escapes his mental clutches by fleeing out of a station. Brandon takes pursuit of her but to no avail, leaving him in an anguished state. No fix for him this time.

To add to his troubled mind his sister, Sissy, impressively played by English actress Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go and Doctor Who!) arrives unexpectedly to stay at his Manhatten designer apartment. Friction between the siblings soon arises, caused by Brandon's resentment of her presence cramping his life style.

Along with her elder brother she has a troubled past, making her very vulnerable and desperate for love, something Brandon evidently would find an alien concept.

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