You may have heard that Shame is a movie about sex. It’s really not. It’s a movie about addiction.

I have been wanting to see this movie ever since Michael Fassbender was nominated for the Golden Globe best actor award (and also because it is the first theater movie with full male frontal nudity).

First of all is that his real name? Who would choose it? So hard to remember, much less pronounce. Second of all, this movie is playing in Honolulu at only one theater, The Kahala. And third of all it is only playing one time per day and that time is 10:15 p.m.

Last night I broke down and made the trek all the way to Kahala Mall. (Five whole miles) I really killed two birds with one stone, as I was early and so before the movie I went to Whole Foods for some last minute Superbowl shopping.

As the market is open until ten, the timing was perfect. Starbucks was right next door, so I even had time for a tall Frappachinio, which I smuggled into the movie theater.

I thought the movie was long, although it was only one hour and thirty nine minutes. I’m not sorry I saw it, but I would have to differ on it being a great movie. It was more of a character study on a very troubled character. Mr. Fassbender is a terrific actor and he’s not bad to look at either.

Shame drops in on the life of Brandon Sullivan, a 30-something New Yorker with an office job, an apartment in a brand-new building in the West 30s, and a compulsive inability to maintain sexual continence, which troubles him deeply.

The movie concerns Brandon’s relationship with his younger sister, Sissy, an alcoholic up-and-coming singer with a depressive streak. Sissy comes back to the city from a spell in Los Angeles and turns up at Brandon’s apartment, and he can’t quite manage to get her to move out and off his couch.

That the fine Irish actor Michael Fassbender, who plays Brandon, and the equally skilled English actress Carey Mulligan, who plays Sissy, don’t look like siblings doesn’t actually hurt the film; Fassbender’s face is all hard planes and sharp angles, while Mulligan’s is all curves, with her button nose and Cupid’s bow mouth.

The movie is excruciatingly slow-paced. Director Steve McQueen lingers on scenes until they reach, and surpass, emotional breaking point. Shots of Brandon padding around his apartment in the nude go on for what seems to be forever.

If you ever wondered what a single guy does after he wakes up in the morning, here you go. (tooth brushing etc.)

Brandon is isolated by his addiction. His laptop at home is enlivened by pay-per-minute camgirls who know him by name; his desktop at work is so rotten with porn that IT support takes it away.

Shame is not exactly a date movie. In fact there were less than ten people in the whole theater. I actually felt sorry for the folks at the popcorn concession.

One of the best things about Shame — aside from Fassbender’s and Mulligan’s spellbinding performances — is its portrait of the city of New York. It looks like New York actually looks. In Shame, New York is not some Disneyfied Darren Star confection where everybody takes cabs and wears $800 shoes.

The film ends with Brandon on the cusp of a decision — we don’t know whether he’s going to do the thing he wants to do, or the thing he wants to want to do. There is little in the movie that indicates we should be hopeful for Brandon. But somehow, a couple days after seeing it, I am. Perhaps. Just a little.

I guess we’ll never know, as I seriously doubt there will be a Shame II.

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