There’s a scene early in Shame where Michael Fassbender languorously wanders, completely naked, through his flat and stands at the toilet before slowly micturating as we watch voyeauristically. It sums the film up. Pish.
Hunger, McQueen’s debut, was my movie of 2008. McQueen and Fassbender pulled off a coup with a brilliantly thought provoking and totally engaging story about Bobby Sands and the dirty protests in the Maze prison in Belfast. It was a horrifying journey to hell and back with a miraculous central peformance by Fassbender.
This movie attempts to do something similiar, performance wise at least, by stripping Fassbender back literally to his skin.
It’s a story about unsaid things. Clearly Fassbender and his sister (Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan) have a past that has severely damaged them emotionally and their onscreen relationship hints, at times, of near incestual closeness but this is kept at bay by extreme aggression to each other.
Sissy is a self harmer, Fassbender a sex addict. Neither evoke any sympathy whatsoever, because McQueen has set out to make a movie that moves glacially and observes the action with a remoteness and aloofness that is chilling and utterly unengaging.
The truth is, this is a self absorbed piece of film making that leaves one cold, in fact, pretty bored actually.
It’s unsympathetic stance towards the central characters actually ends up with you not caring by the end.
A cold, uninvolving self indulgence of a movie that I’d recommend avoiding.