Film: Shamefully Good

Shame
directed by Steve McQueen
101 minutes, rated R18+

Films are often pure entertainment for audiences, a means by which to exit their own reality and enter into another. However, films can be more than this, morphing pieces of art, exploring for a short time the life of an individual. This is certainly the case for the Steve McQueen directed film, Shame.

Michael Fassbender stars as Brandon, who for all intents and purposes is a cool calm and charismatic business executive living inNew York. However bubbling beneath this collected exterior is a tempest of emotion and craving, asBrandonlives with a sex addiction.  Things appear to be under control until a visit from his sister, Cissy (Carey Mulligan), causes him to feel cornered and he starts to unravel.

Shame is a stunning piece of cinema. Every aspect of this film is perfectly crafted to draw the audience into the lives of the two main characters. The dispassionateBrandon is a stark contrast to the emotionality of his sister Cissy. Fassbender and Mulligan are mesmerising in their respective roles. With the slightest inflection in facial expression or tonal changes, Fassbender and Mulligan show diverse emotions and create palpable tension.

The stand out of this film, however, is the way in which Director Steve McQueen has crafted the film. The subject matter is confronting and emotive, but he is able to take the audience on a journey into this man’s life and tempt them further with each passing moment. McQueen’s camera work dynamically and artistically presents the subject matter to the audience. He pushes the limits of audiences’ comfort by drawing out the length of a shot to force the audience to experience the intensity of the moment.

Despite the weight of the subject matter, I found this film enthralling, enigmatic and beautiful. The experience is certainly an emotional one, with little relief from this intensity throughout the length of the film. It is, however, a journey worth taking.

4 out of 5