For you, that may mean a morning cup of coffee or a quick jog before bed. For Brandon Sullivan, the New York City-based protagonist of Shame, it means masturbating at work.
As portrayed by Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class), Brandon is a sex addict. When hes not engaging in sexual activity with strangers, hes downloading porn on his computers at home and the office. Work, sex, work, sex, work, sex thats his existence.
Then his emotionally wounded sister (Carey Mulligan, Drive) has to upend said rituals by temporarily moving into his apartment.
Finally opening Friday at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, Shame may carry the dreaded NC-17 rating, but dont mistake it for the very thing with which Brandon is obsessed. A film can be adult in nature without being an adult film (the intent behind NC-17s controversial creation in 1990), and British director Steve McQueens follow-up to his acclaimed Hunger makes a strong case for that fight.
As a stark, sterile look at a dirty young man, this is as finely crafted a work as you may see all year, yet its subject matter will result in many a walkout perhaps from the first scene, in which Fassbender goes full-frontal nude.
His bravery in doing so is only a small part of what makes his Oscar-worthy performance the most fascinating among all actors in 2011. The guy commits to a part that, in lesser hands, could kill a career, and refuses to shy away from the most problematic material.
It may make you feel uncomfortable; in fact, it should. The most challenging and potentially rewarding films do.