Shame is as difficult a film to talk about as it is to experience. Steve McQueen, who also directed Michael Fassbender in 2008’s Hunger, explores sexual addiction with a keen sense of visual artistry and visceral character work, providing for an unrelentingly powerful insight into what it means to truly loathe one’s self. Michael Fassbender gives a charged performance as Brandon, a man so lost within himself that the prospect of forming a genuine relationship is impossible. Carey Mulligan is effortless as Brandon’s sister, Sissy, who projects an endearing demeanor but is just as afflicted by her and her brother’s shared past. It’s these two actors who imbue the film with a tangible sense of honesty, making the film all the more heartbreaking and, for me, surprisingly relatable. Shame is not an easy film to digest. It envelops you in a shroud of desolation and puts you through a merciless marathon of self-destruction. While others may find it completely reprehensible, it was one of the most fascinating experiences I’ve ever had in a theater.