I’m clearly alone in this. The papers are full of Michael Fassbender (I had to turn my Guardian Weekend over to avoid the cover photo), with innuendoes along the lines that we are about to see so much more of him soon. I have to agree with that. The clothes budget for Shame was lower than it might have been.
I recognise that Steve McQueen’s Shame is a marvellous film in many respects; well done, beautiful camera work and all that. Arty. Daring. Thought provoking. But I hated it.
There is something about the tawdriness of some people’s lives that just doesn’t make for entertainment in my book. Sex addict Brandon and his confused and damaged sister Sissy lead empty lives. It’s New York and it’s glossy on the surface. But there is also some appalling loneliness, with no hope for improvement.
Brandon is so self-centred, that no one else stands a chance. It’s ‘me’ all the way. Not even the fact that his sister needs help rouses him out of his blinkered life. He tries dating, and fails. His boss disapproves of his online promiscuity, but has low standards himself.
It’s not the nudity or the sex that bothers me. It’s that feeling of what lies behind. Or rather, what doesn’t. The ‘wrong’ actor (for me) doesn’t help, but it’s the sheer ugly hopelessness of it all which got to me. The Guardian interview with Michael Fassbender calls Shame ‘a brilliant exposition of loneliness in the city or a pretentious piece of navel-gazing.’ I know which one I think it is.
(At Cornerhouse from Friday.)