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
This debut from former artist turned director Steve McQueen will leave you breathless. In its own understated way it is epic, bold, brutal and beautiful. Telling the story of the last six weeks in the life of Bobby Sands the Irish republican hunger striker the film pulls no punches in showing life inside the maze prison and what the prisoners did to try and win political status. From the outset the shots are amazing with McQueen utilising his artistic eye to bring the best out of the very cold prison environment, his attention to detail is simply stunning making every single frame fantastically watchable despite the sometimes gruesome subject matter. Also his approach of less is more adds to the atmosphere as he has shots that have no sounds or music, like the guard cleaning the corridor with its fixed camera unflinching for several minutes the only sound the eerie echoing scrubbing. Unofficially split into three the first part deals with the incarceration and subsequent no wash protests while the last deals with the hunger strikes but it's the central piece that separates which most will remember for its ability to captivate despite just being a conversation between Sands and a visiting priest. Again shot from a fixed angle and superbly lit Sands (Fassbender) explains the morality behind his decision to stop eating. The acting and the monologue will stay with you long after the films finished and cements actor Fassbender firmly in the role to the point where you start to feel for him as he begins to waste away. When the film premiered at Cannes it caused walkouts and standing ovations before walking away with the Camera d'Or for best debut and rightly so, not only is it one of the best films of the year it is one of the most powerful I've seen. Regardless of where you stand politically the message is universal and just like the circle of faeces smeared on Sands cell wall, McQueen has crafted something beautiful out of something horrible.
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