Wednesday, October 12, 2011


In 1981, the British government is refusing to recognize the Irish Republican Army as a political organization and in response to this IRA inmates at the Maze prison in Belfast are staging a protest wherein they are refusing to wear prison clothes and bathe. As conditions worsen and the protests appears fruitless, prison leader Bobby Sands embarks on a hunger strike, heedless of his own life or the lives of his men. "Hunger" is the film debut of British artist Steve McQueen and it is a brutal exercise in pure simple, approaching each scene with a basic ferocity. The film stars the compelling young actor Michael Fassbender who has been so extraordinary in many recent films, and you can add one to the list as he portrays Sands as a stalwart and righteous soldier. The film is full of many unforgettable sequences including one where the British police are called in to quell the rioting inmates and begin to pound on their shields sounding some sort of war cry, or Sands' hunger strike which is shown in gruesome silent detail. Another remarkable sequence occurs near the film's midpoint where for approximately 15-20 minutes and with only 4-5 shots, a priest attempts to talk him out of his suicidal mission. "Hunger" is a film made by a man with confidence in his abilities, his lead actor, and his story. It is a remarkable piece of filmmaking.