Shame – Steve McQueen, 2011
Writer-director Steve Mcqueen enthrills us with a disturbing heart-felt story whose aim is to picture obsession and its destructive power to life.
Brandon, played by claimed actor Michael Fassbender, is a man on his 30s who leads a well-managed life, shaded by a complex and disruptive obsession to sex. He is a character presented as cold and heartless, whose life is monotonously busy with work and random sex. His sister, Sissy, is wonderfully played by Carey Mulligan, a claimed and stylish singer who finds herself astray in the metropolis of New York.
In this harsh situation, due to a dissipated type of life, Sissy asks her brother for help; she needs to live at his place for a period, disrupting his fragile and subtle life. Her sudden apparition troubles Brandon’s routine and it will spark feelings in him that he has not been feeling for a long time: feelings such as brotherhood, tenderness and comprehension, that cannot fit in his present way of living. Emotions strike him intensely and the accuracy and study of the performance given by Michael make us feel those guts-lurching grief and anger.
Steve’s close ups on Brandon’s face during his rapture and ecstasy in the act of having sex; the music that perfectly follows the narrative; the shadowed streets and the parallel between the lack of expressions on Brandon’s face and the deep despair and disillusion of his sister Sissy which seeps through her face. All these create a unique both visual and mental experience which will hardly leave me.
Shame is a manifesto of the power of movies and their capacities which, unfortunately, are not always aknowledged, and that make them a deep study of humankind within our fast-paced and always more nature-distant society.