Two Jews on Film - By Joan Alperin-Schwartz: A good looking man in his thirties sits on a New York City subway starring intensely at a married woman seated across from him. It's obvious to the viewer that he's hitting on her and it's just as obvious, that's she's enjoying it.
The man is Brandon (Michael Fassbender) and he is a sex addict. Thanks to Steve McQueen's brilliant direction, we get to be a voyeur into Brandon's depraved but always fascinating world.
Brandon lives in a sterile New York City apartment...Everything is neat and orderly...which is a sharp contrast to his everyday life.
Brandon has a successful career, his co-workers like him, and he's very good friends with his boss, Dave (James Badge Dale). There is one, slightly embarrassing moment between the two guys... Dave chews out Brandon for having way too much porn on his hard drive.
Of course, Brandon doesn't only spend his time surfing the web for hot, naked girls. He's busy masturbating at least several times a day, at home and in the bathroom at work.
When he's not pleasuring himself, Brandon trolls the local bars, hooking up with random women. And if that doesn't do the trick to quench his sexual urges, he picks up the phone and orders up a prostitute.
Brandon doesn't enjoy sex. He needs sex...the way a person needs air and water. Brandon's terrified of intimacy.
He goes out on a date with a fellow co-worker, Marianne (Nicole Beharie). They get along great, but at the end of the night instead of making love to Marianne, Brandon hooks-up with a call girl.
All that said, Brandon seems to be managing just fine, until...
His suicidal sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan) comes to visit, sending him on a downward spiral.
Besides making a film about an addict, McQueen, through these two psychically damaged characters, has made a movie about a very different New York. He shows us a city filled with nameless lonely people, riding the subways, going to bars, restaurants...trying to make a connection...
…A connection that Brandon and Sissy so desperately want. But when Sissy stands in front of a microphone at a downtown nightclub, singing a very slow rendition of 'New York, New York ' tears stream down Brandon's face. We realize, that a connection is the one thing that these two people may never have.
'Shame' is a must see for anyone that loves edgy, dark, and visually stunning filmmaking. It opens in theaters, Friday, December 2, 2011 and because of the subject matter has an NC 17 rating.
The 'Two Jews on Film' were fairly close with their bagel rating...Check out our video, to see what John thought about 'Shame'.