By Jack Rico
In what can be considered one of the most intense films of the year till now, ‘Shame’ from Afro-American director Steve McQueen, will make you reanalyze you opinion about sexual addiction disease. Michael Fassbender’s (X-Men: First Class) acting can only be considered brilliant and his chance of being nominated for an Oscar is almost guaranteed. The film pushes the boundaries of nudity to levels of high discomfort for the usual movie goer, and because of this, for those that go to see it I suggest you to keep and open mind free of judgments.
The plot develops around Brandon Sullivan (Michael Fassbender), a man of thirty something living in a comfortable apartment in New York. To avoid his work routine he seduces women, in a series of stories without a future and one night stands. His methodical and organized life style is altered with a surprise visit from his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan), a rebellious and problematic girl. Her high strong presence will make Brandon loose control over his own world.
Because of this visceral premise, the MPPA, the organization in charged of classifying films in the USA, has decided to label it NC-17. This means that people younger than 17 years old will not be able pay to see it. This is the first movie in 2011 to get this rating due to the sexually explicit scenes and situations that McQueen presents, in particular, the three shots of the main actor’s genitals at the beginning of the film.
Besides the intriguing story, we have to talk about the Michael Fassbender’s unforgettable performance, not only does it give the movie wings in this award season, but he clearly represents the suffering of a sickness that undergoes a lot of skepticism in society. Is sexual addition really a legitimate sickness or just a simple excuse that men use to apologize for their promiscuity? Fassbender’s character is humanly damaged and he can’t seem to find a solution. That frustration becomes bitterness, which we can see on his face and his eyes in almost every scene. It’s an amazing representation worth of applause.
The director Steve McQueen uses the protagonist as his personal relief to show with all of his artistic capability the embarrassment and shame of this addiction. There’s no eroticism here, only physical, emotional and psychological filth that has no redemption. The film takes place in New York and you can see the influence it has had from directors such as Abel Ferrara, Martin Scorsese and Sidney Lumet.
‘Shame’ is one of the best movies of the year, but it’s not easy to watch. The plot will disturb many, but that same reaction will have you glued to the screen from beginning to end.