Most would never guess that Brandon Sullivan leads an addiction that his outwardly reserved self doesn’t convey to others. Perhaps, Brandon doesn’t even realize his own sexual addiction until his wild sister comes back into his life. Her presence sends him spiraling deeper into his addiction, and possibly even sends him over the edge into breaking it, or falling into it without anyway out.
This has to be one of the more powerful movies of last year’s movie releases, and it’s a great way for Michael Fassbender to end out 2011 on what was already a great year for his career. Before you watch this movie you’re more focused on the NC-17 rating, and just how much sexual content you might be exposed to in this movie. By the end of it though you feel about as ashamed as Brandon of his own self. In the ways that movies like The Hangover exploit sex to be a wild, good, time you’ll be laughing about later, Shame does the complete opposite. In no shape, way, or form does sex even look appealing in this movie.
Michael Fassbender steps up to role as Brandon. He doesn’t seem to have much dialogue, but you slowly can just see him breaking through his body language all throughout the movie. For a guy to able to depict sex as this desperate attempt for some sort of escape takes talent. The scenes are more painful than anything to watch. At times he comes off as a creep, and then others you want to feel bad for him. Some of the scenes are a little bit too long though. I was hoping that Carey Mullingan really could sing, and everyone was wrong about her inability to carry her solo tune in the movie. Everyone was right though. It didn’t sound that great, and the scene seemed the longest. Other than that she did portray the role of crazy, weird, sister well.
Many probably won’t like the way this movie builds up a climax, and then doesn’t really leave you with a clear path. There are also some questions you wonder. The movie hints that there is an underlying reason connected to his sister that he has a sex addiction problem. Perhaps, it was incest? We never really get a clear answer. They are both strangely close yet also volatile to each other. I think the possible incest relationship takes away from the story line though, and the seriousness of his sexual addiction. Also, how in the world is Brandon having sex so much? Men needed recharge time!
By the end of this film though I was ready to cry myself. In a world where we’ve began treating sex so lightly, I think this film sheds light on just how damaging of a lifestyle it can become. There is also no redemption like we would hope to see in a film that is filled with one depressing scene after another though. In the end we are left asking if this path will be turned from, or is it just about to get worse? The movie is mesmerizing, and you’ll find yourself being caught up in the whirlwind destruction of his life.
Rating 4 of 5.