By Lizzie Lamb of www.thechopbuster.com
This film with its hit-list cast is generating the kind of buzz that makes me vomit in my mouth a little bit, and damn it all if I wasn’t a little biased by the Oscar-bait concept and title. But regardless of my utterly unfair prejudices, this film is very well done.
We were fair warned of full frontal nudity and R-rated subject matter, which seemed a little OTT but that they seemed giddy at the prospect of Michael Fassbender’s wang and just couldn’t quite contain themselves. And not to trivialise a film that is both beautiful and harrowing, but what a wang it be. And the places it does go…
Sex addiction is a very modern sort of theme, and I’ve seen a number of films either directly about it or at least nebulously involved. And finally I have seen one that answers a question that has been burning in my mind since I first found out boners make boys feel nice. In an effort to avoid spoilers I’ll not say what that question is and how it is answered, but it’s nice to see Steven McQueen thinks outside the box (so to speak). And while I don’t wish to be fatuous in general, I feel an awful lot of reviews you’ll read will be dreary pieces of gravitas. THAT, my friend, is not fair to the gentle humour McQueen also represents. There is light in this dark world, it’s only made sadder that the leads aren’t cast in the glow.
Now this is a serious film, as you’ve no doubt heard, so no dicking the toaster or secret diary of a call girl-esque fetish tourism. The title is apt, the Shame sits like a third character in every scene, squatting over any potential happiness Brandon and his sister Sissy (she’s hot for a reason) may dream of. The tension between these two is palpable, and I don’t mean that in a bullshit Brad-and-Angelina-punch-and-snog way, I mean these two characters are torn in so many directions that any semblance of stillness is just a thousand ropes pulling them tight. It’s electric viewing.
One could follow the trend and mention Carey Mulligan’s stirring take of New York, New York, but it’s easy to tug at the heart with a song. Frankly, it’s just the most potent example of McQueen’s long-take formula, and if I may I’d state an extended shot of Brandon jogging through the night streets of the song’s New York is what adds kick to the juice.
This film is the devastating flipside to our hyper-sexualised culture, the sex becomes meaningless and titillation impossible. We know Brandon is a complicated creature, and McQueen respects his characters enough not to sensationalise their turmoil by exposing it. All we know is Brandon and Sissy are damaged people with surrogate tear ducts: Sissy her veins, Brandon his cock. The saddest moments in this film are orgasms, the deadest places are the most opulent, and the most happens at the slowest times. Well worth seeing, and if the Oscars were worth a damn I’d probably give a couple to this picture.
In cinemas February 9