Shame ★★★★

The dinner scene in this film makes me want to peel my skin off, in awkwardness and stilted bluntness Brandon's faint facade reveals the emptiness of the life underneath and his complete unwillingness and inability to connect emotionally with another person. What spirals out is an attempt at growth, and a rescission into old self-destructive habbits in the films devestating final movement of sound, vision and sensory wrath. An overwhelming sequence of Brandon's endless search for satisfaction both personally and physically, to feel something, anything.

McQueen's depiction of the suffering of the human body takes on a new form here from Hunger, as the body once used as the final weapon in a war for the soul is turned inward toward its inhabitant as the worst instincts of Brandon and his addiction cause him to reflect on his inability to sustain emotional and physical intimacy with those who might otherwise mean something to him, and recognising the struggle that is shared by long tormented sister Sissy who is on her own path of self-loathing and destruction.

The relatively faceless and well-off lifestyle and occupation he has chosen to form around himself as a form of enablement for his addiction is no better than Sissy's attempt to stave of her own suicidal tendencies associated with her own crippling BPD. Maybe it's not entirely positive that the thing to shake him out of his cycle of self-abuse is to see consequences played out against someone close to him, someone who is barely there for the most part and made to suffer to take the "hero" up and instigate his possible journey to recovery. But she is only sidelined as much as Brandon sidelines her in the story of his own life, and we are in his perspective from the moment this begins to its final unknown note.

The ambiguity to so much of its presentation speaks volumes, as McQueen's long takes and honed in simplicity to his staging and framing of subjects and objects from distinctly distanced viewpoints fill in the rest of the film's concepts and perspectives.

While I think it's subtlety and ambiguity may be too much of a hindrance for some people to fully invest themselves in the life of its central character and his complicated surrounding relationships with family and work colleagues, it still works for me due to the sheer craft and power of the performances and delecate direction. Same goes for what might otherwise be construed as a melodramatic climax feels to me like it was the only inevitable final destination for them - although I will admit that I'm not the biggest fan of the gay club scene and it's possibly unintended coding of negatively presenting the homosexual male space, especially given the threesome scene that follows it, but I understand it's purpose as a whole as the form of exaggerated personal destruction and desperation that Brandon has collapsed into to sustain himself and his urges.

Luke liked these reviews