7.6/10
61,935
143 user 223 critic

Hunger (2008)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama | 31 October 2008 (Ireland)
Trailer
1:33 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

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

Director:

Steve McQueen
Reviews
Popularity
4,256 ( 1,671)
45 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Shame (2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A sex addict's carefully cultivated private life falls apart after his sister arrives for an indefinite stay.

Director: Steve McQueen
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale
Fish Tank (2009)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

Director: Andrea Arnold
Stars: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Director: Steve McQueen
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender
A Single Man (2009)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles.

Director: Tom Ford
Stars: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode
The Master (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams
Frank II (2014)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Jon, a young wanna-be musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank.

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Drama | History | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible?

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
Macbeth (2015)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Director: Justin Kurzel
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jack Madigan
Funny Games (2007)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two psychopathic young men take a family hostage in their cabin.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt
Amour (2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stuart Graham ... Raymond Lohan
Laine Megaw ... Raymond's Wife
Brian Milligan ... Davey Gillen
Liam McMahon ... Gerry Campbell
Karen Hassan ... Gerry's Girlfriend
Michael Fassbender ... Bobby Sands
Frank McCusker ... The Governor
Lalor Roddy ... William
Helen Madden Helen Madden ... Mrs. Sands
Des McAleer Des McAleer ... Mr. Sands
Geoff Gatt Geoff Gatt ... Bearded Man
Rory Mullen Rory Mullen ... Priest
Ben Peel Ben Peel ... Riot Prison Offficer Stephen Graves
Helena Bereen ... Raymond's Mother
Paddy Jenkins Paddy Jenkins ... Hitman
Edit

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 »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Ireland | UK

Language:

English | Irish

Release Date:

31 October 2008 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Hunger See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

GBP1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,980, 7 December 2008

Gross USA:

$154,084

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,185,113
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

First theatrical film directed by Steve McQueen. See more »

Goofs

Raymond Lohan's Ford Granada is a Mk2 Facelift, which was released in winter 1981 and would've appeared on Irish roads in 1982. See more »

Quotes

Father Dominic Moran: I want to know whether your intent is just purely to commit suicide here.
Bobby Sands: You want me to argue about the morality of what I'm about to do and whether it's really suicide or not? For one, you're calling it suicide. I call it murder. And that's just another wee difference between us two. We're both Catholic men, both Republicans. But while you were poaching salmon in beautiful Kilrea, we were being burnt out of our house in Rathcoole. Similar in many ways, Dom, but life and experiences focused ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Film Review: Episode dated 31 October 2008 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Industry
Performed by Maya Beiser
Composed by Michael Gordon
Published by Red Poppy in association with G. Schirmir, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Dedication
24 September 2008 | by MacAindraisSee all my reviews

Hunger (2008) ****

Bobby Sand's story has been told before on screen, but never with such raw intensity and unrelenting artistry as in Hunger. The film is directed by Turner Prize winning artist Steve McQueen. While his art has often been part of the film medium, this is his first entry into feature film-making.

The film sparked both controversy and applause at this years Cannes Film Festival, with both disgusted walkouts and rousing ovation. It the end it landed McQueen the Camera D'or.

While the film follows the final weeks of Bobby Sand's hunger strike, it is equally about recreating the atmosphere and conditions inside the infamous Long Kesh Maze Prison. Its nearly a half hour into the film before we even meet Sands, in fact. We're introduced to a prison guard, who outside nervously checks his car for bombs, quietly avoids his comrades, then becomes as vicious as any other when brutalizing the inmates. We're also first introduced to a new inmate, who, as per the IRA standard, refuses to war a uniform and instead goes simply wrapped in a blanket. He and his cellmate smear the walls of their cells in feces as part of the no wash protest.

Bobby is played by Michael Fassbender, who gives a quietly powerful performance. For the film he underwent a medically supervised crash diet, one rivaling - if not outright surpassing - that of Christian Bale in the Machinist. He moves throughout the film with a sense of determination and dedication.

It is difficult to go into any detail about plot, as the film more or less moves patiently and quietly towards the inevitable. And the key word may be quiet. McQueen claimed that he originally envisioned doing the film dialogue free. Indeed, much of Hunger is free of dialogue. However, McQueen, as he puts it, felt it would be more powerful to go from vocal silence into an avalanche of dialogue. And so the films centerpiece was born - a 20 minute stationary shot of Bobby speaking with his Priest. In a film that is filled with a dark heaviness in a cruel prison atmosphere, that meeting lifts a weight for a time, before slowly descending into a sad sense of inevitability. Though that inevitability is liberating, it is nonetheless a profoundly sad one. The film also does not shy away from the cruelty of the British towards the Irish, though it also does not deny the brutality of the IRA at times - as characterized in one shocking moment. However, anyone with any inkling of rational knowledge on the Irish struggles knows that the IRA was never simply a terrorist organization, but a rebel group that did from time to time employ terrorist tactics. Like all anti-state organizations, however, the IRA did not exist for the sake of conflict, but because of callousness and cruelty. McQueen reminds us of the cruelty and arrogance of the British particularly through the cold words of Margaret Thatcher, speaking shamelessly about Sands' strike.

There have been many fantastic films about the Irish Struggles, with some of the best coming in recent years (Ken Loach's fantastic Wind that Shakes the Barley, and Paul Greengrass's Bloody Sunday, to name two of the better). This one, I think, may be the best. At least from an artistic and purely visceral standpoint. McQueen captures his scenes in jarring compositions, with all the skill and artistic imagining of a true artist. From the opening sequences, Hunger promises something more than just the standard. Whereas most political films focus all their attention on the message, Hunger focuses on the feeling, and never strays from its artistic goals. This is art, from its opening to closing frames. It's a boldly crafted and brave film. The cinematography and direction are assured, moving slowly and unexpectedly, always beautifully even in its darkest and dirtiest moments.

I believe this truly is a great masterpiece. McQueen has proved himself as a masterful artist of film-making as well with Hunger.


187 of 232 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 143 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed