Thank you, Steve McQueen for your Criterion edition of Don Jon.
Aside from falling into convention occasionally and hokily promoting its frequently honeyed-down score, Shame freaked the jeepers out of me in the most elegant possible way! Somebody, for the millionth time, give McQueen the award for BEST horror director of the 21st Century!
McQueen has mirrored a world where the constant drive for masturbation, casual sex, and fantasized pornography couldn’t be any less psychologically appalling than bathing yourself in a literal cesspool of s**t out of sheer boredom—the reason behind even committing such acts all feel like a twisted, modern curse with no cure. A high-functioning libido has become a weapon against Brandon, and day by day it only seems like an impossibly slowed-down death sentence to his brain. It shows in the type of friends he has, in the permanent relationships he’s cooked-up, and even in the implied manners in which he was born + raised. It especially protrudes, though, when just a visit from his sister manipulatively off-sets his compulsive flow; it’s farthest from non-evident that he detests it all to a brow. Brandon seems to only find serenity in those few moments where for a split second, he may actually think that he’s obtained a true connection with someone. Unfortunately, cynicism and recalcitrant habits are powerful chores to motor through; the wins never seem to outweigh the losses in the lifestyle of a sex addict — or an addict in general for that matter. How could this be the only thing that amounts to your existence? McQueen knows you can’t use this tyrannical resource forever to hide in front of who you are and who you’ve become. Hiding from your shame is always temporary.
To sign off on a cheerier note, however, I never had the chance to mention how obsessively I tend to cherish the minimal amount of cuts in Steve McQueen’s films. The dude just chooses the best long shot he can possibly concur and lets almost the entire scene play out as far as it needs to go! Authenticity reigns supreme!
“Shame” is now available to rent on Amazon Prime.