After a year on here I still don’t know how to reply properly but here’s a quick response to FOOLPROOF COFFIN about why I enjoyed Shame so much.
Firstly, it was great to see Fassbender not only return to McQueen’s direction but also to deviate away from some of the most unproductive and bore-inducing films of 2011 (see X-Men/Jayne Eyre). Though I must concede, because having reminded myself of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy last night, I found it wholly deserving of Outstanding British Film.
Shame to me was heartbreaking, because what we were presented with is not a man whose shame comes from his sex addiction but instead from the point that people seemed to miss about the film that was in his obvious non-familial relationship with his sister. Her begs of asking him to ‘come over to the dark side’, the side that he has successfully removed himself for so long (arguably, as he seems to have replaced one dark side for another) is really the only piece of dialogue that provides us with this information. The rest has to rely on their own psychological manifestations with regards to their own bodies. One represents introverted self harm and the other extroverted. It is this make up of the film that really draws my love to it.
The film is one of the few that can incorporate so much graphic sex and make it as disturbing as, say, the rape scene in Tyrannosaur (another terrifyingly good British film of 2011) instead of base titillation. Nobody leaves Shame feeling that what they saw was pornographic, and if they did then they didn’t understand it. With every woman that he seduces, he loses a part of himself. The only woman that he truly wants to make love with, he can’t perform around. And THAT scene on the train, towards the end, has you breathless.
All in all, I thought it was brilliant. In my Top 5 of 2011. McQueen also manages get Bach in there, which can never be complained about. Also, notice that even when he runs through the streets of New York, you can feel his stasis. There is no relief, and that’s what I fell in love with about the film, it’s inescapable claustrophobia.