Brandon (played by Michael Fassbender) is a New York City executive living with an addiction – to sex. He feeds his addiction daily using other people, the internet and printed material as his sources of gratification. His sister Sissy (by Carey Mullligan), a broken and lost person herself, arrives in his world unannounced and completely turns it upside down. Although his relationship with Sissy is strained, Brandon reluctantly allows her to stay at his apartment, but he finds this very difficult. His life is fraught as he tries to deal with his addiction, keep up appearances to the outside world and satisfy his interminable need (along with keeping his job). We watch as he tries vainly to deal with all the issues in his life and his relationship with his sister.
This is not an erotic or sensual movie, nor is it a whimsical sex romp – it’s a “no holds barred” view of a person trying to live with an addiction. In parts it’s deeply moving and it’s always realistic in its depiction of his life. The sex is primal, an animal act and clearly just a means to an end, there is no emotion and (it seems) very little pleasure in Brandon’s sexual activities – people are not people, they are just bodies and sexual gratification is short-lived, only giving way to the need to fulfill it once again. Dialogue is sparse, but the messages are blunt and clear – you wouldn’t want to have this life. Michael Fassbender’s performance is stunning and Carey Mulligan’s performance as the irritating and needy Sissy is very good indeed.
It’s not what I was expecting and it’s not a good-time movie, but it’s very good indeed.
Made in 2011. Directed by Steve McQueen