- Paul Dale
- 30 October 2008
In 1981, IRA member Bobby Sands allowed his body to become the ultimate instrument of protest when he led the Maze prison hunger strike in order to win political status for imprisoned members of the IRA. Directed by Turner Prize winning artist Steve McQueen and written (along with McQueen) by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, Hunger is the story of the last six weeks of Sands' life.
Unburdened by the traditional rules of film storytelling, McQueen takes his time bringing Sands (Michael Fassbender) into the frame. First we meet dehumanised prison guard Ray Lohan (Stuart Graham) and faeces smearing dirty cell prisoners Davey Gillen and Gerry Campell (Brian Milligan and Liam McMahon) before being introduced to Sands in a whirlwind of all too naturalistic violence. McQueen continues to usurp any expectations of what a prison drama should be with intense attention to detail, long silent takes, dialogue heavy statics and much more.
Like two other great artists who became filmmakers - Julian Schnabel and Jean Cocteau, McQueen brings asceticism and an other worldliness to stories quantified by tragedy and loss. Hunger is a brave and unforgettable film, one tinged with thematic prescience and the politics of belief exemplified in a stunning central sequence between Sands and Catholic priest Father Moran (Liam Cunningham). (Paul Dale)
Selected release from Fri 31 Oct.