'Shame' Examiner Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
While people often think they know and understand a controversial subject, and are content to argue their opinion on the topic, certain issues are more complicated or surprising than they may realize. Such is the case in the new drama ‘Shame,’ which is currently playing in select New York theaters. While the film has drawn widespread debate over its extensive sensual content, ‘Shame’ shockingly pushes the graphic nudity and sex scenes into the background to instead focus on the struggles people face when faced with an addition to sex.
‘Shame’ follows the seemingly reserved and introverted New York businessman Brandon Sullivan (played by Michael Fassbender), as he secretly deals with his powerful sexual appetite. He’s obsessed with pornography and prefers short-term relationships that are purely based on sex, so that he can keep the world at a comfortable distance. Brandon’s routine is overturned when his younger sister Sissy (portrayed by Carey Mulligan) stops by for an extended visit without prior notice, and doesn’t have anywhere else to go.
Since she doesn’t care about her brother’s need for privacy, Sissy shockingly learns about Brandon’s sexual desires, and forces him to closely examine his life. Refusing to leave, Sissy tries to help Brandon understand how he became the man he is today.
Filmmaker Steve McQueen, who directed and co-wrote ‘Shame’ with Abi Morgan, made a risky decision in creating a character-driven film focusing on a lead protagonist who is continuously motivated by his sexual desires. While the drama, which shot in New York, is the rare film to receive an NC-17 rating, for its explicit sexual content, McQueen skillfully didn’t allow the sex scenes to overpower the plot’s true meaning. The director created a character in Brandon who not only understands the need for change in his personality, and realizes his sexual desires are ruling his life, but also comes to emotionally care for other people.
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