Set in 1981, Northern Ireland. Irish Republican Bobby Sands (played by Michael Fassbender) leads inmates of the Maze Prison on what would be come a history hunger strike. Whilst the film came out in 2008, I do remember this actual event. There I was a ten year old boy, living in Scotland but recalling the news broadcasts at the time talking about not only the Maze Prison but also the protests themselves.
Nearly 10 years on from the film, but some reason I had never watched ‘Hunger’ It wasnt for any reason in particular other than I guess ‘too many films, not enough time’ but this morning I sat down and watched this Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) directed film.
Whilst this film is the big screen directorial debut of Steve McQueen, its obvious that this director would have had a great career ahead of him, going onto make films such as 12 Years A Slave (2013), and Shame (2011)and whilst Hunger is definitely a slow paced film, it does draw you in straight away with its percent cinematography and characters. There are scenes that contain no dialogue at all that most films wouldn’t even dare to try, yet along manage to pull off as Hunger does.
If you arent a fan (well perhaps the word ‘fan’ might not be the best word), Ill change that to. If you are put off by messy body fluids then perhaps skip eating or drinking anything whilst watching Hunger, as the scenes of ;dirty protests’ pull no punches and have a pretty nauseating feel to them but that has to be the point. Hunger most certainly doesn’t glorify anything at all about time in the Maze Prison or what its like to be locked up when you think you shouldn’t be locked up. As Steve McQueen has done with all his films, he knows what he is doing and 100% perfectly gets the result that he wants and that the film needs. Fantastic work.
Casting wise, whilst Michael Fassbender takes top billing of the film and his character is the ‘trigger’ that begins the hunger strikes, this film is far more than a Michael Fassbender film. He doesnt appear on screen until around a quarter of the way through but when he does, he enters with impact. His film Assassins Creed might have taken a bit of a critical hammering last year but checking out the work he does with Steve McQueen as well as his other 2008 appearance in the film Eden Lake, will remind you that this guy is a brilliantly talented performer who takes his work very serious. So serious in fact that he went on a medically controlled weight lost program for the film ‘Hunger’ Think Christian Bale in The Machinist and youll get my point.
Is ‘Hunger’ a film for everyone? Perhaps not, but if you want to see a historical true story that shows the darker side of humanity but a side of humanity that shouldnt be forgotten- then check out Hunger by Steve McQueen. Just dont eat anything mushy whilst you do.- trust me on that.