Shame ★★★★½


To my knowledge, I'm not sure I recall a film so focused on such a harrowing addiction. I suppose I'm not a stranger to the genre, Beautiful Boy springs to mind, but that's about drug addiction, which is the typical vice most shown on screen. If I'm not mistaken, Shame is perhaps the only film about sex addiction, or at least perhaps the only brilliant one. I loved this film. The way Steve McQueen makes sex un-erotic and pitiless is incredibly nuanced, in no part due to Michael Fassbender's single best performance as a man who seemingly appears fine on the outside. He's got a great job, the lounge-y clean apartment, and lives in the city no poor person would come near. Yet beneath the facade, beneath the supple skin, is a man completely crippled by the urge to have sleazy sex, pleasure himself in bathroom stalls, and obliterate his work computer with viruses. You would assume having a sex addiction would be exciting, but after watching this extraordinary piece of independent cinema, I'm wholly convinced it is not.


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