When an executive addicted to sex has his life turned upside down after the return of his wayward sister, his search for sexual gratification takes him down a dangerous path, in this cutting edge movie about sex addiction, and the mental forces behind the act.
Brandon (Michael Fassbender) lives a highly stressful working life, so its no wonder when not at work he likes to partake in something that releases that stress, in Brandon’s case it just happens to be sex, he literally cannot get enough of it, and ideally, never with the same person twice. Whether its hitting the toilets in his breaks for a little masturbation, or hiring out hookers, or seducing married women on the subway, Michael likes to get off as often as he can. But it’s the arrival of his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) that takes Brandon on a dangerous path, cut off from his usual masturbatory freedom of his flat, he needs to venture out more into the real world, and this takes him into dangerous new places.
Shame is one of those movies, those groundbreaking films that challenge the normal taboos of cinema. Like 9 ½ weeks, Last Tango In Paris and Basic Instinct, Shame has come along at a time that its acceptable to push the envelope a little bit more than we have been able to before. This being said, this is not the direction pushing many people that headed to the theatre were expecting to see. Like the aforementioned movie Shame is not all “Knobs & Knockers” it’s something a little bit more intelligent, in this case we see the mental decline of a man taken out of his usual “order” due to his sister turning up out of the blue and crashing on his couch.
Sex is on the down low really; there is not much nudity, strange for a movie all about sex, although the words associated with the act are always on the table. What makes Shame shocking, is the relationship between Brandon and Sissy, and it’s a really disturbing potentially incestuous one, that both seem to battle at various points with as the movie progresses.
The performances are just great, Fassbender shines as the completely emotionally detached soul you would come to expect, Mulligan pushes her usually quite reserved acting style to the limits, and as a result delivering her most inspired acting work yet.
If like so many you are looking for a sexy movie to get your kicks, this certainly is not the one. If you’re a little more curious however into the internal wrangling of sex, and the mental power play that comes along the way, then this is movie that will push all the right buttons.