“SHAME” My rating: B (Opening Jan 20)
101 minutes | MPAA rating: NC-17
The words “sex addict” are never uttered in Steve McQueen’s “Shame.”
This isn’t one of those social-problem films where a shrink swoops in to explain our hero’s condition and tell us how with therapy and the support of loved ones a sufferer’s life can be turned around.
We’re not even all that sure that Brandon Sullivan, the film’s protagonist, wants to turn his life around.
When we first meet Brandon (Brit actor Michael Fassbender) he’s lying in his bed after a sexual encounter. We hardly get a glimpse of his partner, who is dressing to leave. In fact, she doesn’t matter. Certainly not to Brandon.
As he gets up to walk to the bathroom we take him all in — stark naked from head to toe. It’s blatantly in-your-face, with Fassbender’s pendulous manhood advancing directly toward us.