Monday, January 23, 2012
Seeing Shame at the movie theater, we got carded not once, not twice, but THREE times - buying the tickets, giving the tickets to the ticket-taker, and going into the theater. There were two older women in front of us, and they thought they were being carded because they'd bought senior tickets and needed to prove their age. The ticket-taker laughed and said, "No, it's SUPER NC-17." Not gonna lie, at this point I was pretty excited to see what we were getting ourselves into.
Shame is Steve McQueen's latest film and stars Michael Fassbender as Brandon, a 30-something New Yorker who lives in an upscale apartment, works some sort of high-tech job, and is very, VERY addicted to sex, in all forms. Prostitutes, masturbation, online porn, seducing women on the subway....you name it. It certainly doesn't hurt that he is good-looking, enjoys being naked, and has a big schlong.
Despite his best attempts to ignore her phone calls, Michael's younger sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan) shows up at his apartment to stay for an undefined length of time. Sissy is a chaotic type, a singer without any real roots or boundaries. She cajoles Brandon into coming to see her sing and then sleeps with Brandon's sleazy boss in Brandon's bed. She walks in on him masturbating in the bathroom. She discovers his reliance on porn. Brandon simply can't handle it - Sissy upsets the delicate balance of his existence. Not like his days were thrilled with joy before, but Sissy sets him on even more of a downward spiral.
Leaving the theater, my initial response was that I didn't really like Shame. I couldn't really put my finger on it but I guess I was kind of left wondering what was the point? There's no real personal growth of any kind. We leave Brandon much the same as when we first met him. After sleeping on it I decided liked Shame a bit more than my initial response, and I was able to figure out what had bugged me. I was bothered because I didn't feel like we got to know Brandon at all. There was some hinting of Brandon's and Sissy's painful past but it was never really delved into or explained. I would have liked to have learned more about their past to learn why they are the way they are in the present. Without knowing what they'd been through I didn't really find them sympathetic characters - I didn't really like them, nor was I able to relate to them.
But it's got to be worth something that I've been thinking about Shame for the past 24 hours, right? If Brandon's and Sissy's pasts were explored a bit more I think I would have like Shame a lot better. But apart from not knowing what made them tick, I don't really have any other major complaints about the film. 6.5/10.
(In case anyone is wondering, I don't think Shame was "super NC-17.")