We’re Not Bad People…


I have discussed Shame many times before, in various places. These discussions seemed to mainly center around the fact that Michael Fassbender’s penis is a thing of epic beauty and should be on exhibition at the V&A at all times. You know, next to the ball gowns.

So, it might not come as a shock to you that I am now in possession of a copy of said penis movie.

And, partly for research for this blog and partly because I was practically plotzing to see this one, I watched it in the late hours of last night.

To start on a completely shallow note: Fassy’s penis is actually really lovely. It also appears for about fifteen seconds in the entire ninety minute duration of the movie. So it would be a bit stupid to keep dwelling on it, seeing as there’s more to Shame than just his penis.

Yes, I said that.

Shame is a movie of little words. You don’t get a lot of explaining as to why Brandon (the protagonist, played by Fass) is the way he is, so the audience is reliant on the actions and facial expressions of the characters. And that’s where Fassbender comes into his own.

He breathes life into a part that might have stumped a lesser actor. Brandon isn’t exactly the most pleasant of characters to play, but Fassbender attacks it and nails it to the floor. His chemistry with Carey Mulligan (who plays his troubled sister Sissy) is excellent too.

Yet… the movie kind of leaves me wanting more. Not in a sequel kind of way, but in a more beefier script. As I said, the reasons for Brandon and Sissy’s problems aren’t given, and it irked me.

Nonetheless, it is an excellent movie.

If you are in any doubt about the emotional power of it, let me just tell you that I have it on good record that one of the sex scenes managed to make four erotica authors cry in the cinema.

That’s powerful, man.


Now that I’ve sort of reviewed the movie, I can perhaps try and process the thoughts I had when it ended. At several points, I alternated between two major feelings. One was that I needed a good cry. Two was that I desperately wanted to wank.

This last feeling wasn’t because of the hot sex, and the naked man. It was because I couldn’t bring myself to cry. I needed to release everything I felt, and I couldn’t do it through tears, so I had a very emotional wank afterwards.

And I felt kinda bad about it.

Because that just felt like I was missing the point of the film entirely. Shame isn’t porn or erotica or anything that might get you off. It’s a movie that gets under your skin and messes with your head. It wants you to think. In fact, it almost demands you to think.

But I found nothing to think about.

“We’re not bad people. We just come from a bad place.” says Sissy at one point. But where do they come from? What is the history? Why aren’t we given more to identify with?

What we’re left to consider is that maybe we’re all going over the line with our sexual behavior. No matter what reasons we have.

I didn’t cry in the end, but I did get my release-wank. It was emotional and intense. Just as Shame is.


Fass. In case you have no idea what one is.

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1 Comment

  1. I also wanted to cry in the end, not wank. (Thanks for being someone else who uses the term wank, btw.) I felt they deliberately left out the characters’ pasts, to make us more like them. More ‘over the line’, as you say.

    And you’re correct, Fass can act amazingly well with so few lines (and a penis). I mean, wow. I was bowled over by his acting.


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