Review: Shame

13 Mar

It’s all about sex. At least in Brandon’s life. It’s reduced to sex so completely that there is no room for feelings, for real intimacy. And no room for his sister, Sissy. A disturbance, a burden for him. Reminding him that his life is a failure, just like hers. Two individuals struggling to survive despite breaking every day: one from his sex addiction, the other while seeking for a bond to another human being. Sissy tries to reach out, tries to overcome the loneliness; Brandon tries to shut her out, not willing to let anyone in.

But then, something changes. Brandon tries to bond with a woman, meets her for a date, tries to have sex with her, real sex. And fails. And retreats to a prostitute. There is no easy way out of this downward-spiral that he calls his life. The sex addiction is defining it, shaping him.

It is Sissy who gives the audience a glimpse of a background story, says that they aren’t bad people. They just come from a bad place. Somewhere in New Jersey. But no more information apart from that. We never get to know why they are the way they are. And that’s good. There is no necessity to justify the characters’ developments. They are archetypes, representing the lost and lonely in America’s city of cities. New York.

Steve McQueen’s scenes are captivating, pictures with cool colors ridden of any warmth. They resemble the characters’ souls, their failure at being normal human beings. Even the sex scenes feel lifeless, human bodies rubbing at each other, penetration, coitus. It’s the close ups of the protagonist’s face that draws the audience in, manages to shutter any hope we might have left for Brandon. His broken expression while being with someone, the emptiness of his heart so clearly mirrored in his facial structures. It’s Michael Fassbender who makes Brandon such a delicate poor human being, broken, maybe beyond repair. The film doesn’t answer that question. Neither for Brandon, nor for Sissy, portrayed by Carey Mulligan, swaying between excessive liveliness and utter detachment. Both performances so brilliant, so touching, that it truly is an utter shame to miss Shame.

One Response to “Review: Shame”


  1. Gelb & Grün « Caramel Vodka - March 15, 2012

    […] habe endich Shame im Kino gesehen (meine deutsche Review findet ihr hier, die englische Version hier). Der Film hat mir sehr gut gefallen, ist aber gewiss keine leichte […]

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