Shame (2011): “We’re not bad people. We just come from a bad place.” (18+)

Written by Eleanor

Have you ever thought that sexual desires can be a curse? Well..Michael Fassbender is… ashamed.

Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a successful handsome man in his early 30s. He lives alone in a fancy apartment in Manhattan and he has a stable daily routine. However, Brandon struggles with his addiction to sex. He exchanges lustful and greedy looks with women, he has daily sexual intercourse with different partners, he watches porn movies on a daily basis and masturbates during his office hours. Unable to control his constant sexual needs, Brandon’s life revolves around casual sex, while commitment seems impossible and unrealistic for him.

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Brandon’s life is interrupted when his sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan), comes to spend some days with him. She tries to get emotionally closer to her brother, who is cold and distant. Brandon needs his private space in order to keep people and especially his sister away from his troubled sexual lifestyle. Brandon is deprived of emotions like compassion, affection and warmth. He is unable to provide love and affection even to his sister, who pleads for his attention and tries to strengthen their bond.


Steve McQueen uses plenty of close-ups on Brandon’s face, capturing the protagonist’s inner feelings and thoughts that he himself does not want to express. In the opening scene, Brandon stares into space, immobile and half-naked. His impassive face after a sexual intercourse or when he is watching porn movies, exposes his hollow life. Sexual addiction is a burden in Brandon’s life and it causes an inner suffocation. Sexual intercourse and even orgasm lose their physical and emotional importance and instead they become a mechanized process. The close-up on Brandon’s face during the last sexual scene of the film captures the inner struggle. Brandon’s facial expressions are transformed from the initial inner pleasure to the pain and anger at the moment of his orgasm.


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Heavy breathing and moans give a certain rhythm and intensity to the film and impose Brandon’s suffocation on the viewers. The director’s choice to deprive some scenes of music and sound serve as a comment on Brandon’s inability to grasp the ‘magic’ and the ‘music’ that accompany the sexual intercourse. Brandon is driven by his uncontrolled sexual needs that drag him away from the process of the surrendering of all senses.

Watch the movie trailer here:



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