kynan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Shame is a beautiful constructed film shrouded in a coat of thematic darkness. While the main plot and thematic ideas for the film stem the main character of Brandon and his destructive sex addiction. It is only one piece of how the film constructs and builds upon its ideas and exploration of themes.
The film touches upon loneliness and seclusion, from oneself and society. While it’s not directly shown, the noise of New York City, accompanied by long takes of Michael Fassbender’s character Brandon, running down those streets with the light obstructing the darkness, shows how deep the loneliness runs within his character.
Before I get onto the other themes, I really enjoyed how Steve McQueen constructed the characters of Brandon and Sissy. They were introduced in a way where I was shown their shame through the destruction of the human body, through nudity and was left with an almost uncomfortable and almost parasitical dynamic that I’m still questioning was good for any of them. The performances were both great and some of my favourite in film, Mulligan singing New York, New York is a wonderful scene that truly lost me in the moment and that scene in the bathroom will also stick with me, due to the haunting nature of the imagery.
Back to themes, I enjoyed how through Sissy’s character and her dialogue, both her character and Brandon’s addiction come from childhood trauma and seeing how this affected them and the course of the film, became very jarring due to the self destruction this caused in their adulthood . While I’m 17 and can’t relate to a lot of the themes presented, personally this has left a large impact on me and where I am within my own life. Final thing, the film feels like a never ending loop of repeated nothingness and in the final shot the question is pinned to me as viewed does Brandon continue the loop continue or has he changed after all this destruction?
It’s a really deep film. That poses a lot of questions about the darkest stems of the human psyche.