Milez Das (Rohit Shivdas)’s review published on Letterboxd:
First Film of 2017
Sissy Sullivan: We're not bad people. We just come from a bad place.
A person's vulnerability comes from within. We hid ourselves in plain sight for many reasons. Privacy is important to us. But when someone unexpectedly comes in your life, every chip in your life that you have private struggles to breathe.
Brandon is a 30 something, successful, charming and sexual person. From the opening frame of the movie we are driven in his life. He is a person addicted to sex, his surrounding, every breath and every thought contains sex. But he has this persona of his very well hidden.
When his sister, Sissy arrives unexpectedly in his life, he struggles to keep himself contained. Sissy herself has problems of her own. She is not in a good place, she needs a shoulder, Brandon's shoulder to keep her safe.
In plane sight, Brandon is really a good person. He helps open doors for neighbors, care for his friend boss, charming when he needed and great at his job.
Sissy becomes like a trap to his life, when his boss and Sissy start the ignition, he becomes somewhat ashamed and disgusted. Even when he is caught pleasuring himself, he cleans every nook and corner of his apartment.
The relationship between Sissy and Brandon is great when its great and bad when its bad. They both want each other in their lives to be a filter, they are not someone who thrive when alone. They need to lean on each other, make themselves a better version of themselves.
Also, Brandon has never had a steady relationship in his life, longest he had was 4 months. And when he tries to have a connection with someone, a meaningful sex. That moment makes him panic. Even when he wants to change he can't really. His addiction of meaningless life and sex has taken over him. There is a moment before he is going for his date, he stands on the street looking up the building when a couple is having sex...And you can just see through his soul that is the exact thing he wants to do now.
Shame not only takes us to a journey but breaks a threshold that crosses everything for Brandon. The epilogue or montage you can say, shows the extent of a persons breaking down in pieces. Even Brandon knows his Shame now, his hollowness inside that is dragging him down. He himself is responsible for the trap. And the scene where he sobs breaking down is just perfect...
Every sexual partner Brandon passes tells us something about Brandon. There is a silence in their gestures and a personal history with him.
Shame has one of the best cast a movie can have. Michael Fassbender gives his best performance till date as Brandon. He captures every essence of the character. Also he has a big one. Carey Mulligan as Sissy gives an equally wonderful performance, she provides a childish maturity to her character. I still love how she curses. And her voice is so beautiful. Even in supporting James Badge Dale as David and Nicole Beharie as Marianne provide great support to these characters. And for the girl on the subway Lucy Walters and the hotel lover Amy Hargreaves provide Brandon with his lust and state of mind.
Steve McQueen directs his finest and best film to date. He tackles one of the difficult subjects and does it flawlessly.
Shame is one of those movie like Eyes Wide Shut can get audience hesitant in taking the step. As Eyes Wide Shut isn't about the orgy, Shame is not about the Sex, it is about a person, his struggle, his addiction and his Shame.