SHAME

Poffy The Cucumber

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Pure sex, hold the shame.

After watching SHAME, George Clooney joked to Michael Fassbender, “You could play golf with that thing!”

Fassbender (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS) is Brandon: office guy, New York apartment, sex addict. He regularly hires prostitutes, masturbates at work in the toilet, picks up random flings and fucks them in alleys, owns a ton of porn magazines, and watches nothing but porn on his computer. You know, just a Regular Guy. The only thing that’s not regular on Brandon is when he goes Full Frontal Fassbender, we can see that – unlike Mark Wahlberg in BOOGIE NIGHTS – he’s blessed with a real dirk diggler.

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Poffy has no shame!

I can’t see where the title kicks in.

Set in a dank New York that somehow seems like London (maybe because of the star’s and director’s pedigrees), SHAME is written and directed by Steve McQueen (co-writer Abi Morgan), and is introspective and dark and makes sex look perverse, for some odd reason. For this, the movie is regarded as “important”; a treatise on the nature of profligate desire and how it drives one to isolation and blah blah – but the movie is important for precisely the opposite reason. Though it is purveying its subject matter as “perverse” (evidenced by its title), it is depicting sexuality as it really is: an integral part of the human animal.

Life is nothing but an interface for genes to continue their existence through time – and all forms of sex, procreative or not, are the channeling of that drive to continuance. Which effectively means that anything done under the banner of sexual libido is natural, i.e. NOT perverse. We living vessels exist purely for the transfer of genetic material. Not on a conscious level, but at a level that doesn’t use words or thoughts, but primal, limbic desire. And this movie’s creation is part and parcel of that ulterior drive of human DNA. (To wit: it’s gonna help the director, stars, and anyone who worked on the film, get laid more often.) And then – in a fit of self-effacing displacement – to call it SHAME, of all things?

The word shame implies guilt, or an internal self-flagellation, and though Brandon is made to seem joyless, it never comes across that he feels actual “shame.” Or maybe I missed that emoticon. You see, I’m considering everything Brandon does as normal, whereas a puritanical hypocrite for Christ would see it exactly opposite.

A meager plot develops when Brandon’s needy sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan, WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, again with an atrocious hairstyle) comes to visit indefinitely and disrupts his privacy and sexual itinerary. She’s brought no suitcases but a ton of baggage, and if the film was intimating that Brandon had self-esteem issues, Sissy is an overt case study in lack of self-esteem. She beds Brandon’s boss (James Badge Dale) on their first night out drinking, plonking him loudly in Brandon’s bedroom while Brandon tries to distract himself in the living room. Again, though it’s played for humiliation and perversity, it’s nothing that doesn’t go on in real life homes across the globe. So where is all this shame they speak of?…

Maybe it’s in how Sissy and Brandon don’t mind being naked in front of each other, almost like a married couple; maybe it’s in how Brandon treats Sissy, telling her to leave, though she has nowhere to go; maybe it’s in how he tries to bed an office colleague (Nicole Beharie) and fails to perform, immediately hiring a hooker to assuage his desires; maybe it’s the sex binge he goes on, ignoring his sister’s desperate calls to him, on the verge of lonely suicide…

Nope, still don’t see the shame in any of it…

For all the sex in SHAME, one might imagine a glut-fest of prurience, at the least some kind of soft-porn tumescence, but director McQueen leaches all sensuality out of the sex. It is mechanical and gruff, not “sexy” but sexless. There are no soft-focus, candle-lit boudoirs, no slomo silhouettes caressing each other; it is feral animal fucking, in crass daylight, in wet alleys, in a gay sex club…

Fassbender is, as always, magnetic, in a performance that will leave you emptied and breathless. At one point, he tries to eradicate his dependence on pornography by throwing away all his porn (is that the “shame” bit?), but in so doing, inadvertently “finds himself” – that is, in order to feel any kind of lust, he needs to engage in what society deems as perverse acts. That’s a message in this movie that I think might get lost amongst the puritan gnashing of teeth over the nudie bits.

SHAME is rated NC-17 in the U.S. As usual, imbecilic censors don’t want young kids to see anything related to procreation, but don’t mind letting young kids see innumerable murders in THE EXPENDABLES. Well done again, morons!

As I’ve always maintained, all art is a precursor to sex. And this movie is a blatant “artistic” advertisement for the man-metal of Michael. I’m sure there are now a lot more moisted lasses more than willing to go three holes with a full frontal Fassbender. No shame in that…

END

Shame_titleSHAME (Dec 2011) NC-17
Director: Steve McQueen.
Writers: Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Nicole Beharie, Alex Manette, Hannah Ware, Elizabeth Masucci.
RATINGS-08imdb
Word Count: 840      No. 885
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