Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shame - Hey! Everybody's Naked!

The pervy look he gives the entire movie. Hide yo kids!
So recently I discovered how much I like obscure movies that are about fringe related subjects And man, I've been finding them everywhere lately! Most of the films I end up checking out are likely disturbing, strange, or uniquely artistic. That is when I found the movie "Shame," a movie I never even heard of until this past weekend. And for good reason. This movie is not for everyone and if you don't have an ability to be objective you could say in certain instances its downright screwed up in how mentally sick this character and story is.

While many would think this movie is just some smut film about a guy who has too much sex, I find it more of a great way to address the issue of mental/physiological disorders that impair a person from having normal relationships due to the shame they bring upon themselves. Sex is only a vehicle but the addiction tells the story of a person who is in desperate need for help, but refuses to address it until now. It is the best performance I have ever seen Michael Fassbender in [although that's subjective since I haven't seen everything he has ever done] and its definitely teetering the line between pornographic and a deep message of how disturbing/destructive a sexual addiction can be.

11 min in - We are Getting Down and Dirty:

My man, Steve, rocking the beanie hat on a subway train.
This movie definitely doesn't leave much to the imagination, but it also doesn't really glorify the sexual shock either. Its done in a way where you know the character is doing something wrong or he's clearly messed up. Steve McQueen [the director/writer] makes it clear in his story telling that this is not meant to be some ridiculously perverted biopic of a wealthy, successful man. There are sexually charged moments, but all of them are used to reveal more about the character and his addiction.

But it does take a bit to get over the shock. In the first 3 minutes you already see Fassbender's character "Brandon," in full frontal nude and without a stunt double in sight. Then it pushes through his daily life of sex with a prostitute, sex with random strangers, Fassbender stalking a lady in a subway station like a creepy perv, two implied masturbation scenes and a montage of full frontal shots. This hit of over sexualized moments reveals a lot about the frequency of his needs and how it is disrupted when his sister, Sissy, comes to visit him later in the movie.

Overall I would say its a film of personal taste and rated at NC-17 due to the clearly graphic nature of the film's disturbing premise. Fassbender is a lightning rod in this movie and I feel he captures the role very well in his performance. Carey Mulligan also gives a superb performance as his emotionally needy sister, Sissy, who screws up his every day life flow with her crazy, needy emo self. However if you can get through that, its very well done and Steve McQueen impressed the hell out of me with his story telling. I feel a light influence of American Psycho exists in the film except a lot more disturbing/depressing instead of disturbing/uncomfortably funny.

Male Sexualization:

I think what makes this film really good is the choice to use of a male instead of a female. Now I'm not saying that because of, "Yay, naked man!" but more of the fact that people have the perception that it is natural for men to always be turned on, while some may have a critical issue in their psyche that needs addressing. Anything in the male realm is often downplayed as "not that important" and "man up you sissy" which makes it harder for men to seek treatment or help with problems of any kind, whether sexual or not.
Sissy, you are emo. You are going to have to die.

Women, on the other hand, are often portrayed as victims and within Brandon's sister, Sissy, there is an entirely different set of issues that is addressed and parallels Brandon's own addiction. Their personalities seem to clash quite a bit in the movie. She is emotionally needy, but loving and open about her feelings while he is emotionally closeted, willfully ignorant and private. This dynamic eventually deteriorates their relationship as Brandon is forced to address his issues now that he can no longer hide them in the safety of his apartment.

Why the Sex is Not the Only Reason to Watch:

There are some really smoking hot scenes in this movie, but most of them curtail your interest by either given creepy vibes or disturbing/depressing notes after a while. For example, the hottest scene in the movie turns into a failed moment where Brandon decides he can't seem to handle a real chick in his bed [a beautiful black woman named Marianne] that he likes and goes flat. She leaves disappointed and so does the audience!

He woos her with a nice view of the river then fails.
Which brings me to my next point. I REALLY like the fact that twice in this movie he was with a beautiful black beauty. Granted one was a prostitute, but the other was an intelligent, kind, sexy woman that he totally couldn't go further with. A real shame, but a good reason to drive the character onward into his spiral of despair. I don't see enough interracial coupling in entertainment, but its been getting better. We are starting to see a more driving demand for it in the past ten years since a lot of people now identify themselves as bi-racial or mixed ethnicity.

As a mixed ethnicity woman living in the melting pot capital of the world, I'm really proud to see that area continue to grow. Walking Dead has it with Glenn and Maggie, we have seen it in Guardians of the Galaxy this past summer between Peter and Gamora, and I hope to continue to see even more in the future. Its starting to feel more natural in how they address it instead of a forced coupling just because - RACIAL EQUALITY.
 ^ The best part of the movie by far ^

My last point to watch this movie is for the downward spiral effect. I love the falling from grace moments of a character that show their true desperation despite all odds to hide it. Every director does it differently in how they construct the stumbling moments and how they conclude the story. Perhaps we can even state that the roots spring from the heart of the tragic character archetype itself.

These stories are always fun to watch for me and I know every step of the way. When they start to lose control of their poise and unravel before the audience's eyes. The scenes that become more disturbing and vile as their addiction/affliction starts taking over. Brandon does some really desperate shit along the way, getting his ass beat for openly trying to pick up a guy's girlfriend and jumping into a gay club after being denied into a club just to fulfill a need. The movie is intentionally uncomfortable to make you not feel good about what is happening here. In the last sex scene where he is with two prostitutes, you could see literally pain and suffering on his face toward the end.

Wandering Thoughts in the Bedroom:

Thin Walls - 

Sissy and Brandon's besty bro have to be the loudest people in New York, because Brandon should not have been able to hear his sister getting it on so easily in an expensive flat like that. I would call in a noise complaint and then hose them the hell out of my room. GET A HOTEL, pricks. Not on my bed.

That Waiter - 

Needs to shut up! He is super annoying. He just keeps popping in and taking over the scene. Like dude...go away. I don't care about you. I don't care what you recommend. I don't care about your stupid apron or how much wine you poured..[and you poured a lot, you drunk]. Just go away. Also he seemed to emphasize on the wine "Pinot Nior is light if you like it like, light." That seems like a weird comment to make. Almost as if he is wasn't approving of Brandon's date. What's interesting is if you look at the scene as a whole, everyone in the room is white except the guy who pours water in their glass and Marianne.
Look out Tom Cruise, Fassbender is beating you at the run!
The Run - 

Is the equivalent of a cold shower for this movie. When your sister is getting banged by your married boss, the run is the perfect way to blow off steam. I think that is maybe the reason Bradley Cooper did a whole lot of that in the movie, Silver Lining Playbook, he needed lots of cold showers. Lots...of...cold...showers.

Chinese Food, Beer and Porn - 

Can this guy get any more bachelor or what? Seriously. That is what every bachelor in the world does before he either A. gets married, B. finds a girl to play house with, C. learns to cook himself.

Clearly Its the Intern - 

Brandon's IT bros found a super collection of porn on his computer at work and they totally blame this shit on everyone else. Like WOW. He hides it so well that his friend's can't even imagine him being a sex addict and clearly it must be the intern's fault. The most hilarious part is his boss is like "what kind of sick pervert does that?" while he is trying to dog every woman in New York. The irony is amusing. You also want to hear another irony? Porn sites are the least likely websites to get a virus from. Brandon is clearly surfing a p2p site or reddit with AOL, which I consider a virus in itself.


In a scene where Brandon and Sissy are waiting for the train he has a string on his coat that NEVER gets addressed. I could not help, but STARE at the string the entire conversation. I was hoping it was there for a reason, but it was not. WHY. Why did they not cut it? WHY? #militaryuniformtrauma
^ Pervy boss alert, he loves emotionally wounded, easy girls

Brandon Should Have Punched His Boss - 

The fact that Brandon's boss hounded after his sister should have given him a license to knock him out. The guy is clearly a dog and a desperate one at that. He's practically begging the girls to get with him and seems to suck at it. I'm really surprised he just let it happen and then got pissy with his sister after the fact.

Cleaning the Toilet because HYGIENE - 

Is this a man thing? He doesn't even sit on the toilet, why is he cleaning it furiously before he takes care of himself? I don't understand.

The Chinese Food Copulated - 

In one scene Brandon has a Chinese food take out box that is probably filled with chow mein [although listening to the sound of the stirring, there is clearly nothing in the box], in the second scene he has a second box on the table as well. Apparently he poured water on it and fed box 1 after midnight and box 2 was born.

The Entertainment Shelf - 

Brandon has a ton of records, CDs and books. A closer look at all of them one of the books says. "Moo" as its title. And he has a cheap RCA TV. I guess all of that money spent on hookers makes him poor and he can't afford a decent television.

So, yeah, nobody seems to cover up in this family...
Sissy's Shower Scene - 

There are so many weird pick ups in this scene. First of all....she is in the shower with the curtain OPEN. I know its a movie...but she is SHOWERING WITHOUT THE CURTAIN! His floor must be totally sopping wet. On top of this you see "Shampoo" on one of the bottles next to the Dove body wash which is so generic its hilarious. She even comments on it not for the name, but whatever awful brand it is. And shes showering with some bracelets on because....women, am I right?

You Like Your Sugar? - 

Dude, she is telling you to stop shaking the damn sugar for 1O minutes every morning. Its broken up already. Quit it!

Consistencies - 

I have to say the movie has done phenomenally with consistency, I tend to like to look at the background of movies and see if things appear or reappear. For the most part they have done a pretty decent job at getting almost everything right.

Clearly he doesn't want to go up there.
Overall the movie is not unique, but still an interesting and engaging story about a subject that isn't talked about enough. This is about how mental trauma due to a horrifying childhood/ experience can really shape the type of person you become whether you have control of that or not. It manifests in multiple ways and for some, addiction is the only escape and temporary relief for the pain one suffers in their own life.

Its a form of ignoring the past instead of accepting it for what it is and considering that it does not have to be your future. For Brandon, every time he felt emotion he replaced it with the empty need for desire and it only got worse when his sister needed him most. His break down was purely the most breath taking part of the movie because it was the first time we saw him show deep, troubling emotion. He was essentially burnt down, hitting rock bottom and admitting defeat to this severe problem. The ending is considerably vague, but we assume instead of Brandon pursuing the woman on the train like he did in the beginning, we like to think he paused for a moment and decided not to. A step in the right direction perhaps, but still a long way from recovery.

What did you think of the movie, Shame? Tell us in the comment below!

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DnD Rating: 9/1O

DVD/BlueRay: Available Now!

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