For the second of his feature films, visual artist Steve McQueen has chosen to work again with the star of his first, Michael Fassbender.
The description of the film gives only an impression of what it is about. This from IMDb, for example:
In New York City, Brandon’s carefully cultivated private life — which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction — is disrupted when his sister Sissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay
But the real point of the film lies in what is unsaid and unexplained, and that’s what makes it so compelling.
By the end, it doesn’t matter that Brandon is addicted to the sexual act, or that his sister is a needy self-harmer. What matters is that we start to realise that the siblings are perhaps the product of a troubled childhood, or victims of past events, and their behaviour is the only way they know of dealing with it.
The film is about the shame of addiction (of any type), of not being able to break free from it, of battling inner demons.
It’s a powerful film which I won’t be rushing to see again, but which I am very glad I saw.