A debatable past trauma of its characters, and sexually charged scenes leads to incestuous subtext between Brandon and his sister Sissy in Shame.
In New York City, Brandon’ s carefully cultivated private life which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction, is disrupted when his sister (another damaged soul) arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay and brings memories of a painful shared past.
Shame (2011) is a film that definitely has more going on then meets the eye. The test of good film making is to make you think and they definitely do that here because there is so much to be debated. Nothing is black and white. I didn’t like the movie that much when it was first released and I watched it in 2012, because I guess I was disappointed. To be honest, the direction I saw the movie going was a canon incestuous one. I was even just hoping for a kiss between Brandon and Sissy. When it didn’t happen, I guess I felt like the movie was giving in. It’s like you already have everything in this movie – sex, nudity, drugs, swearing…Why not add the incest, lol! However, fear not because the movie has so much subtext, you might just scream at your screen for something more not happening! Brandon and Sissy and their brother/sister story line really gives this movie its fuel, as well as its heart and soul.
Now looking back and re-watching it the other day (I am on a bit of a Michael Fassbender kick), I think it is such an incredible movie. You feel like you know these characters because the actors do such an incredible job of bringing them to life. As Steve McQueen (the film’s director and co-writer) said “The actors are naked, I tell you. Emotionally and physically.” You want to know more about them, even though McQueen denies the audience access to their past and to seeing something materialize between them.