James Dempsey: Nothing sexy about Fassbender in this film of a sordid addiction
TODAY marks the release of Shame, the erotic drama from artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen, which sees rising Irish star Michael Fassbender bear his soul in a naked – in every sense of the word – performance already tipped for Oscar glory.
For those of you brave enough to risk a date night at the movies on a Friday the 13th, this dark and sordid evocation of the degradation and soulless sleaze of sex addiction is not what you’re looking for. Instead of knowing winks to how’s your father, or tasteful cuts to muslin curtains billowing in window frames to the sound of crashing waves, Shame delivers a grim and sour insight into a controversial and hushed addiction.
In an endless stream of nameless conquests, paid-for escorts and Internet pornography, the film is a harrowing dissection of a man out of control. There is a bitter poignancy to Brandon, the lead character, a 30-something New York financier, whose self-loathing libido is insatiable, and whose taste for carnal fulfilment takes him to some very dark places.