There’s so much to tell about Shame that it sounds like everything has already been said by about everyone. However, I’m surprised to see no parallel being made between this last Steve McQueen movie and Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road.
Before I go any further, I should warn you. There is going to be a lot of spoilers about this two movies in this article. It’s more an analysis after having seen Shame, than a way to give you the tools you need to know if you want to go see it or stay home. If you want my opinion on that, here it is: stay home. Although, I think Shame is an excellent movie. Now, let’s get back to my explanation.
Both movies are about a vice eating up the main characters minds and lives. There is nothing really happening, no main event, with yet a story to tell. A lot of the movie stands on the actors and, in both of them, they are excellent. The Winslet/Di Caprio reunion in Revolutionary Road had nothing to be ashamed of in comparison to their first memorable duo in Titanic. And what to say about Michael Fassbender second work with Steve McQueen. His interpretation is purely magnificent (well, magnificent might not be the best word to describe it…).
Much of the plot is similar: their public reputation is a successful, happy, determined life; when privately, it’s a living hell. The Wheeler couple moves in Revolutionary Road as a figure of The Happy couple. The one everyone envy. And it is the one that will be dying in the end. And Brandon is a successful business man. Every girl wants to have him and every boy wants to look like him.
They have to watch their self-destruction without being able to do anything about it. And, it seems to be the all point of the film: there is no way out of this. And the worst part is that they can’t even expect a descent into hell. Life is as it is and nothing will get them out of it, not even the death of the female broken figure.
In both films, everything goes slowly and makes it worst. Both are brilliantly directed so that the discomfort and suffer is almost unbearable to the spectators. Both give no hope, no joy and no place for imagination to make up a solution. So why on earth would I advice anyone to go see a movie that will make them hopeless and miserable. However, I did see Revolutionary Road a few times and will not ever watch Shame again. Only because seeing love has a slow torture is a little less horrible than seeing sex as such.