Shame (2011)

With all my heart and all my brain matter, I will confess loving Michael Fassbender until my eyes and ears can no longer enjoy his presence. Sounds a bit too dramatic? Alright, I will rephrase my thought: I think I love Michael Fassbender!

Now as we have that personal and presumably very awkward moment out of the way, there is an important task at hand and that is one of putting down thoughts about the movie Shame. I just recently read a very long and insightful review on it and it got me thinking about things I couldn’t really manifest while I was watching the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and it will be on my hall of fame (if I had one) for sure but that being said, I never fully let Shame into my brain. It might have been an automatic defense-mechanism because Shame is a type of movie that makes you think of your life in different perspective and usually, seeing it from a new angle, welcomes in all the negative emotions. I wasn’t up for feeling sorry for myself or getting all teary and it possibly prevented me from diving deep into the movies core. But what I failed to capture from the emotions (of course I wasn’t completely emotionless), I managed to grasp from Shame’s body of work: directing, scenery, placement of the camera, cinematography, acting etc.

There is much to talk about the way Shame was put onto the screen, from the color choice to the camera placement but there isn’t any point to read about it when one has not seen the movie. So before you continue, maybe take a look at Shame and be ready to think beyond the movie just to get the whole experience. Because what all those technical things did, what I had been missing from movies for a long time, was the additional meaning those elements created. For instance the interesting yet mysterious relationship between the brother and sister was not only created by the script but it was emphasized by placing the frame behind the characters during their most intimate scenes. It might feel awkward in the beginning but that’s the whole point of it – for the viewer to feel like they are disturbing the conversation we are not supposed to know about, like we are listening in to an intimate encounter of two people.

Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan are the main cast while James Badge Dale offers a supporting role who causes some of the issues the whole movie discusses. The way sex is an issue of shame, one who is addicted to it in all of its forms and everywhere he goes and the other who is thought of as a lover to a married man. The complexity of the characters is carried to the screen by long scenes and it is clear that Steve McQueen really takes his time, he doesn’t rush the story – there isn’t actually much to rush into. From the perspective of the plot, it is rather simple but since the issue is complicated and the way everything comes across, the whole movie tends to go further into the subconscious. There are a lot of gray and blue tones, also warmer yellows but it all kind of feels depressing. As far as I remember, a lot of the scenes are filmed from a distance and the soundtrack is riveting and memorable – everything sort of comes together into a big ball of sadness and misery. Especially when Fassbender is on the screen because even when he has sex the look of shame in his eyes shows how tangled his life of addiction really is, how he wants to stop but simply can’t.

Since it is quite difficult to discuss such a complex movie with not giving away much of the plot, which is pretty simple to begin with, I really can’t think of anything else to talk about. Except one thing, the topic this post stared with, Fassbender’s unstoppable appeal. He is probably the best of his kind at the moment, not afraid to take on more serious roles and doesn’t shy away from blockbusters. Fassbender definitely has a big career ahead of him and I’m happy that my first memorable encounter with him was Fish Tank (before he became big!) because I can truly say that I’ve been a fan before he became vastly popular. Somehow it makes me feel better about myself..

Images from: Rotten Tomatoes.
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