I think I'll start today by saying something about movies. Sometimes, a movie comes along, and you'll be so floored by it that literally, you find yourself at a loss to speak. Sometimes, a movie so incredibly good comes along, and it'll make you think about it for a long time. And sometimes, that movie is one that takes a lot of risks.
Today's movie is one of these movies.
Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is an office worker who has a bit of a problem: he's addicted to sex, to the point that he can form no personal attachments at all. Enter his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan), who stays with Brandon at his apartment for a few days. His personal life from there begins to unravel, and he begins to question many things in his life.
I... This is one of those films that defies summaries, really. And I really don't know where to begin.
I guess... Yeah, I think I'll start at the NC-17 rating. Trust me, this movie earns its NC-17 rating, especially near the end when the sex scenes get really graphic, almost to the point of being pornographic in one or two shots. Trust me when I tell you, though, that this movie is so masterful that I don't think that it could've done without those shots I mention.
I think the best way to describe this movie is as a slow character study of sex obsession. There's something wonderful about the way Brandon's character develops: we see him as a man who is always having sex a lot of the time, but from what we see we're not sure why as he forms no personal connections, and love is the kind of thing he feels he has no use for. And then, when his sister Sissy comes along, we see some of his insecurities come about in some of her actions, and from there he just begins to question what the hell he is doing as a result. This shift in his character is key in this movie, and while it is very slow to develop, the viewer's patience is greatly rewarded.
With the wrong actors, it could've fallen apart. But the casting people did a wonderful job casting this. I was pretty convinced of Michael Fassbender's acting abilities from his portrayal of Magneto in X-Men: First Class. But here? After seeing him in this movie, I'm convinced that Fassbender can do no wrong. Fassbender's performance is spellbinding: Brandon's character is full of hidden rage and sorrow, and Fassbender's performance captures this perfectly, particularly when he lets it all out as the movie draws to its conclusion. This is to say nothing of a good supporting turn from Carey Mulligan, but Fassbender steals the show, and the movie just works incredibly well thanks to him. Academy, take note: if I don't see Michael Fassbender at the Oscars this year, there's gonna be hell to pay.
Director Steve McQueen, too, gives it his all here. I am at odds with some of his choices in the shakier camera work, but he makes some really smart decisions on where to train the camera in relation to the actors, and the shots he chooses say almost everything you need to know about what the characters are thinking most of the time. In many ways, the camera work tells the whole story for us, and it's wonderful to see a movie take such an approach to how it tells its story. Combine that with the incredible acting at work, and... well...
I... I've got nothing else to say here. Go see Shame right now. It's one of the best movies of the year, hands-down, and Fassbender has now made it perfectly clear that he's a force to be reckoned with. So go see this movie right now.
A must-see picture of the year.
This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.