Film Corner!

[Trigger warning for rape culture.]

Below is the trailer for the upcoming Michael Fassbender (Team Magneto!) film Shame. It also stars Carey Mulligan and was directed by Steve McQueen, a black Englishman born in 1969 who is no relation to the white Hoosier actor of the same name who died in 1980, after starring in The Great Escape and other films. This is a very splendid picture Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender together! Anyway! Let's go the video!

Listen, I sort of know what Shame is about, because I read a description of it that gave some vague outlines, suitably cryptic for the kind of film generally considered best enjoyed if you know very little about it. Trailers for those sorts of films are often difficult, because you want to capture the mood without giving away details of the premise. Unlike, say, a Michael Bay film, in which you might as well watch the extended trailer, which is essentially a comprehensive synopsis, and save yourself $10.

But, come on, trailer for Shame! You are not telling me ANYTHING except that Michael Fassbender is adorable (no doy) and runs a lot (okay), and he has lots of sex (sure), and also has an indeterminately troubled relationship with his sister Carey Mulligan (all righty), and that New York City is filled almost exclusively with white people (which I know from all the other film trailers ever). Give me SOMETHING.

Well, in fairness, it does give me lots of accolades from reviewers, who would definitely never mistake pretentious kyriarchal garbage and recycled rape culture narratives for revolutionary film-making, so I guess I'll go ahead and trust them!

Onto the trailer description...

Mysterious, moody, brooding string music. Michael Fassbinder breathes. Sounds of the city. This film has won lots of awards. It is "from award-winning director Steve McQueen." Michael Fassbender breathes. He also jogs. He looks at ladies' asses.

Michael Fassbender is "the man." His pitch is "amazing." He clinks glasses with other men who are presumably his coworkers. According to The Guardian, this film is "mesmerizing." Michael Fassbender clinks glasses with ladies and watches them dance. Elle magazine thinks this film is "exquisite and emotive."

String music! Breathing! Jogging! Michael Fassbender checks out ladies on the subway. Michael Fassbender's sister is "playing downtown," and he goes to see her with some other dude. Carey Mulligan looks troubled and performs in some club in a sequin gown, looking Marilyn Monroe-ish. The Hollywood Reporter thinks this film is "scorching."

Breathing! Taxi! Computer! Carey Mulligan is maybe doing it with Michael Fassbender's boss now? Michael Fassbender's hard drive is dirty. He does it with lots of chicks. He is a sex addict, for sure. I.D. thinks this film is "daring and stylish."

Sex! Breathing! Tension with Carey Mulligan! Sex! Breathing! Tension with Carey Mulligan! The Hollywood Reporter also thinks this film is "a cinematic jolt."

Jogging! Some dude calls Michael Fassbender "Romeo" and then punches him. His sex addiction is getting him into trouble. Well, I'm sure we'll all feel very sorry for his objectification and exploitation of women when it turns out his sister coerced him into a sexual relationship at some point and is trying to do so again. Which is what this trailer is making me SUSPECT is going to be the big reveal of the film, and gross if that's true because rape reveals are cynical and revolting. (And, not so coincidentally, nearly always run counter-intuitive to everything we know about who tends to commit rape.) Time Out says this film is "courageous and distinctive."

Breathing! Jogging! Michael Fassbender is coming unglued. He won't pick up the phone. Sex! Running! Sex! Running! Sex! BREATHING!

SHAME. Carey Mulligan lies her head on Michael Fassbender's shoulder, and he wraps his arm around hers, while they watch TV.

This film has an NC-17 rating and, according to a film awards consultant, is "littered with the rawest sex you've ever seen in a non-pornographic movie." But don't worry! "The sex isn't gratuitous and is designed to show the disintegration of the character."

You know, it's just never good for female characters (if the living embodiment of a sex doll can be construed as an actual character) when sex scenes are used to "show the disintegration of" a male character.

I hope I am wrong in my impression that this film is a garbage nightmare about a kyriarchetypical sex addict who abuses women in various ways for whom we're meant to feel sympathy because of his profound struggle, which has been received as a serious and remarkable piece of film-making despite looking eerily like American Psycho without the chainsaw. (Or capitalist commentary.) I hope, because I like Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, and because I hate misogyny and the rape culture, that it is a lot better than I fear that it is.

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