Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shame: An exercise in voyeurism.

Sitting in the dark movie theatre, watching the overly easy on the eyes actor, Michael Fassbender, I felt a bit like I had accidentally entered an art-house porn, if such a thing exists. The movie Shame, starts with Fassbender in bed, getting out of bed (nude), going to the bathroom, peeing (we see him from behind), hiring a call girl, paying her, getting back into bed and then noises of them having sex. The movie continues in this unrelenting pursuit of sex and watching sex with brief periods of wearing clothes, sitting on the subway (staring at women) and going into an office to do some unnamed high-tech work that doesn't involve a computer. A third of the way into the film we meet Sissy, naked in the shower. Played by Carey Mulligan, Sissy is his self-abusive, messed up little sister. She doesn't lighten the mood one bit and by the end you're just begging to get out of there. To get out of their destructive world. To not watch those two interact for one more second.

There were two things I liked about this movie: the first I've already mentioned. Fassbender is extremely attractive, with a body that could have inspired Michelangelo's David. The second thing is the moody and sultry New York, as directed by artist Steve McQueen. I can watch both of these subjects for hours. What I didn't like was the lack of story. We started in one place and, for the most part, ended up in that same place two hours later. Perhaps we didn't, maybe I'm staying too on the surface here, but since all the dialogue was trapped in Fassbender's head we'll never know.

Leaving the theatre, I overheard several conversations along these lines:
"Wow, I didn't expect it to be, like, all about sex."
"Yeah, I know. It's the only thing that happened."
"It was kind of uncomfortable watching all that sex."
"Um, so did anything happen in there?"

Next time I think I'll go see The Muppets.

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