Ethan’s review published on Letterboxd:
I hear both sides: Ignatiy Vishnevestky wrote for MUBI, “Every scene is ladled with big dollops of cinema’s most respectable cop-out: ambiguity.” Ebert described it as “courageous and truthful.” I see where the ambiguity can be a stickler; for a film that deals with such a specific addiction, one would expect it to linger more in the specificity of said addiction. However, McQueen chooses to use Fassbender in a more spectral light, often rising to the ethereal while always staying on the ground. I found myself connecting with Brandon in the way that all addicts can: the way in which personal relationships strain, and how you keep yourself a prisoner to this thing, trying to convince yourself that it still makes you feel good, but ultimately knowing that you’re just a prisoner. It’s a harrowing experience, seeing that type of close-to-home pain play out in front of you. Some have harshly panned the ambiguity, but I find beauty in it, a connection that almost all people can see themselves in (to varying degrees, of course).