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Hunger (2008)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 37,522 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 122 user | 214 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

Irish republican Bobby Sands leads the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike.

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Title: Hunger (2008)

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Cast

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Karen Hassan ...
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Frank McCusker ...
Lalor Roddy ...
Helen Madden ...
Des McAleer ...
Geoff Gatt ...
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Helena Bereen ...
Paddy Jenkins ...
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Storyline

Hunger follows life in the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland with an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike, led by Bobby Sands. With an epic eye for detail, the film provides a timely exploration of what happens when body and mind are pushed to the uttermost limit. Written by Icon

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An odyssey, in which the smallest gestures become epic and when the body is the last resource for protest. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

31 October 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Hunger  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,980 (USA) (5 December 2008)

Gross:

$154,084 (USA) (5 June 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First theatrical film directed by Steve McQueen. See more »

Goofs

Raymond Lohan's car - a Ford Granada - is a Mk2 Facelift, which wasn't released until winter 1981 and probably wouldn't be seen on Irish roads until '82. See more »

Quotes

Bobby Sands: I have my belief, and in all its simplicity that is the most powerful thing.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Rising of the Moon (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Industry
Performed by Maya Beiser
Composed by Michael Gordon
Published by Red Poppy in association with G. Schirmir, Inc.
Bang On A Can - Classics CA21010
Cantaloupe Music October 08, 2002
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The brutal life in the Maze Prison
6 March 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Before Steve McQueen came along, artists turned directors trended to be awful at the job like Tracy Emin (but she has always been an awful artist). But since Steve McQueen there is hope that artists can be good storytellers, with Sam Taylor-Wood also gaining critical success with Nowhere Boy. Here Steve McQueen shows his skill with a brutal tale about the Maze Prison and the political protests IRA prisoners undertook.

In the early 1980s terrorist prisoners in Northern Ireland had their rights as political prisoners removed and IRA prisoners protest by refusing to wear prison uniforms, thereby ending up being nude, and smearing their own feces. Prison guards have to use violence even to clean prisoners and clean their cells. One prisoner, Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) who suffers from the violence goes on a hunger strike to force the British government to give in to his demands. He would go on it by himself and was willing to die for his cause. To ensure that this wasn't a pointless sacrifice other IRA men would take his place other he died. As the strike continues Sands' health quickly deteriorates, with the British government standing strong against him.

McQueen shows his skills very quickly, showing the brutal nature of live and showing the dirty live of the prison cells. It is grim but effective and you get the feel of what that live was like. He also shows his ambition, with lots of wide, continuous shots throughout, the main one being when Sands speaks with a priest (Liam Cunningham) about the morality of going on hunger strike. This almost felt like a stage play. McQueen also shows his artist flair with some of the shots, but most of the time keeps the film grounded to real life.

Surprisingly McQueen shows a more balanced picture, showing a prison officer Lohan (Stuart Graham) is a human being, having to protect himself from IRA attacks, and having his wife worry for his life. But McQueen could have shown more, like terrorist attacks conducted by the IRA or British reprisals against them. I am personally a big critic of the IRA, seeing them as no more then terrorist targeting innocent civilians and now really just a criminal organisation. But despite my prejudices I was still gripped by the film, it was not Anglophobic or pro-Nationalist. An interesting parallel with today is with American treatment of Al-Qaida prisoners, where the Republicans and the Right in America want to strip them of their rights, torture them and lock them up indefinitely, whilst the Democrats want to treat them as what there really are, criminals and should have criminal trials. When it comes to fighting terrorism we need to show that we are better then sinking to their level. The film skips over the fact that Bobby Sands won an election to be an MP whilst on hunger strike.

The acting is excellent, particularly from Michael Fassbender who is quickly emerging as a massive hot prospect. He is my second choice to replace Daniel Craig, just after Matthew MacFadyen. Liam Cunningham and Stuart Graham are also worthy of note.

This is a very good film, and an excellent debut by Steve McQueen.


10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Was Sands a Terrorist? faulknerfan123
Good movie but that conversation scene was way too long Randomember
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Prisoners trashed the new rooms. Why? linda10989
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anyone felt bad for the guards carlaisthe
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