After a Crazy Long Hiatus, Max Phineas and his fave Houseboys are Back!
Max: Okay guys, today is one of those days when we have to put the silly antics away and be serious.
Geronimo: Serious? So like, no dangerous escapades that involve major injuries?
Francois: Young Master, does this have something to do with that girl that was over here earlier
Max: Why Francois No! No, no… *sigh* yes.
Geronimo: Ooh you have a crush!
Max: No it’s nothing like that. She’s just a good friend of mine who I promised I’d do something for.
Francois: So what is it that we need to be professional over for your so-called friend?
Max: A review of the movie Shame.
Geronimo: Well let’s get on with it then!
Max: Okay, okay. Shame is the second major film release by British director Steve McQueen (Hunger), and also his second film featuring the lovely and talented Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Haywire, Prometheus) as main character Brandon. McQueen is currently filming the historical drama Twelve Years a Slave, again with Fassbender, starring alongside Brad Pitt.
Shame takes place during one moment in Brandon’s life, beginning with him in his thirties with a successful career, living in New York City. Brandon has a secret that he keeps from everybody: he’s dealing with a crippling sexual addiction (Hypersexuality). This is expressed through him constantly watching porn throughout the film, or masturbating regularly in the workplace bathroom. One day his world is thrown out of balance with the arrival of his sister Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Drive, An Education) who is also harboring some major relationship (and possibly psychological) problems of her own.
Geronimo: Sounds rough man.
Max: Agreed. I must say, never has sex seemed so depressing until I watched this film. Michael Fassbender’s performance is truly amazing. Stunning, and towards the end frightening, his acting is the standout of the film. As the film progresses, Brandon’s degradation- both of his psyche and his character, culminate with his actions towards the end and show how desperate and terrifying an addiction can be. Particularly in one scene where he’s literally prowling the streets at night looking for sex like a monster in the dark. Mulligan is also entertaining in her portrayal of his sister and the two leads work well together, convincing as a brother and sister who both know that the other is fucked up. Mulligan’s character is occasionally perplexing as we never get to know what exactly her problem is but it comes across as if she’s very disturbed and it made me wonder what exactly happened to these two to make them that way. There are also great performances from Nicole Beharie (Women Thou Art Loosed, On the 7th Day) and James Badge Dale (The Pacific, The Grey) as Brandon’s co-worker and boss, respectively.
Francois: Anything else young Master?
Max: Well the directing is great; it’s very close and personal. There aren’t many landscape shots of New York which made the film feel more personal.
Geronimo: So what’s the overall opinion?
Max: I’d say it’s definitely a film worth watching once, because the subject matter and the acting is so great and disturbing, but it would be difficult to stomach through a second viewing. That still does not stop it from being a knockout of a film and definitely one of the more interesting releases out on DVD.
Geronimo: Geez now can we stop with the formalities? My face is getting stiff from all this normalness.