Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Devouring Films: Shame
My own personal shame connected with Shame is that I only wanted to watch it because of Michael Fassbender's penis. I realise that this is a really bad reason to watch a film, but if you haven't seen the gif then I don't know what to say to you (if you have then you probably want to shake my hand and tell me 'well done!' for watching this. And, you know, thanks for that). But anyway, I pays my money for Netflix and when they have films on there that have gained a lot of praise and ALSO contain male full-frontal nudity... Well, I'm not sure how to resist that.
If you don't know what Shame is about, then the premise is essentially that Brandon (Fassbender) is a successful 30-something dude who works... doing something that's never really made clear, and whilst his whole life looks pretty good from the outside, he's actually a sex addict who, it becomes clear, really can't emotionally connect to anyone. In some top-notch character naming, Carey Mulligan plays his sister, Sissy (I see what they did there) who comes along and messes up his perfect-seeming (from the outside, remember) world and provides a lot of the story of the film. Without her, it would basically just be Fassbender wanking to internet porn, hiring prostitutes, and going to the mens toilets an awful lot at work.
And if you thought it wouldn't annoy me that both of the lead actors are English and yet played Americans then you would be WRONG, because why not just make them English? All kinds of people migrate to New York City, you know?
Anyway. So the film is absolutely gorgeous looking, and a lot of what it wants to do is achieved through this- it makes a lot of what Brandon does or looks at sexually look and feel sort of dirty and grim, AND very much like a drug addiction rather than something cool and desirable, and makes Sissy seem both very attractive and very vulnerable (both of which are true). Almost everything is revealed through the way the film looks, but there are some things that remain unrevealed even after the film ends, and I think that is what has kept me thinking about it even when I thought I wouldn't. The film ends without answers, without solutions, without a lot of hope, and you're left wondering what on earth happened for everyone to end up in such a sorry state in the first place. And I kind of love that.
Shame, then, is kind of bleak and kind of hopeless, and yet in the end you DO hope. You hope that Brandon can break free of his addiction, that Sissy can learn to stand on her own two feet; that above all things will be better and the people will be less damaged. There's nothing they can do about their pasts, but their futures are there for the writing (quite literally, since this is a film and all) and even though there's very little to suggest in the film that they will be better, still you want them to be. Or, at least I did. Basically, I apparently care about and believe in these characters enough that I want them to be ok, beyond the edges of the film; and that's really all I ask for from any kind of narrative.
Therefore, I guess, I liked Shame.
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I'm pretty sure seeing a movie because the lead is a) hot and b) naked is an acceptable reason to watch something. Especially something that's on Netflix streaming so it's right there anyway.ReplyDelete
Oh good. Well that's reassuring. Thank you! (Did you know that in the UK Netflix only does streaming? It's pretty lame)Delete
At least it does that instead of only doing the mail one. That would be worse. At least for me cos I am WAY too impatient for that.Delete
Ah, Shame. How to convince the husband I'm not watching for the exact reasons you give. This will take thinking.ReplyDelete
But man, sounds bleak.
It's preeetty bleak. Which is a shame because sex addiction sounds like it should be sort of funny. But it turns out that it is not. Hmph.Delete
Tell your husband it's a really important art film? And you don't really care about penises anyway? (Ok, that sounds bad. Maybe don't say that bit.)
And wouldn't the visiting sister potentially make more sense if she was visiting from overseas? I found the make the English folk American kinda weird too.ReplyDelete
Also, I found their brother/sister dynamic super creepy. In a good way, but yeah, creepy.
I just didn't think there was any point in it! Like, there was nothing in their stories that meant they HAD to be American, so why not just keep them English? Strange times.Delete
IT WAS SO CREEPY! I honestly thought that his entire sex addiction was going to be spawned from the fact that they'd had sex when they were younger or something. But I don't really think that anymore. I don't know exactly WHAT I think, but it's not that.
I've heard so much about this film, but I hate really bleak films. It has to have a big upswing to make up for depressing the hell out of me. Still, I want to watch it at some point.ReplyDelete
Oh duuuude, there's like no upswing to this film! I felt really melancholy the whole time I was watching it, really. *siiiiigh*Delete
I saw a comment on YouTube under the movie trailer that said "Man, that was the most depressing wank I've ever had." Which made me laugh but was also quite honest about the SERIOUSLY BLEAK thing.ReplyDelete
I love the fact that you just come right out and say the penis thing. Because now, if I say that X film has Michael Fassbender in it, my mum's eyebrows shoot up and she says "the guy whose tackle you've seen in that film?... *pause*... I might have to watch that one sometime." Seriously, it's like the shower scene in Om Sara all over again. And they say women aren't as bad as men. :P
I wasn't sure about the incestuous vibe either, I have to say. When he caught her in the bath I thought she was his ex or something, not his sister. And when SHE caught HIM and they started fighting and the towel fell off... DEFINITELY some weird connotations there.
Anyway, when I first watched it, I was like, "okay that was good but far too depressing to ever watch again." Now I'm glad I've kept hold of it because I think I'll appreciate it more the second time around. Also, there's some nudity that I might like to watch again sometime. Just sayin'. ;)