Addiction, impure and simple
THERE is a famous statistic that reveals the average male thinks about sex approximately once every 10 minutes.
In Shame, we meet a man who has been able to significantly improve upon that figure. And when he isn’t thinking about sex there is every possibility he is participating in the process.
Brandon Sullivan ( Michael Fassbender) is a sex addict. While he seemingly has it all – good looks, great job, fancy apartment – he would much rather be doing it all.
Living the high life in New York City makes Brandon’s capitulation to his urges far too easy. And ever more dangerous.
How did he get this way? How can he change his ways?
These are not questions Shame will be answering. For Brandon, the mould had been definitively struck.
The plotting of Shame is compressed to a tight timeframe, which begins with Brandon being paid a surprise visit by his sister, the capricious Sissy ( Carey Mulligan).
She has come to stay for a few days, which interrupts Brandon’s routine of appointments with prostitutes, and marathon sessions on the grubbier stretches of the internet.
There is something profoundly unsettling about how Brandon and Sissy get along – something that happened in the past that, again, the film refrains from revealing – that has impacted on their ability to form lasting relationships.
The performance of Fassbender as Brandon is incredible. The controlled manner in which he conveys his character’s condition is powerhouse acting.
As for the film as a whole, Shame is to be feared, respected and applauded for its devastating portrait of addiction in its purest form. Here, it is sex. But it could be drugs, alcohol, gambling.
What we discover is that no matter what route you take to self- destruction, the road ahead is a lonely one, and you’ll continue to pick up speed as your final destination appears.
Now showing State Cinema