Comments on watching and making films.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

DVD - Hunger

Okay, before I start this review, we need to get one thing straight - I will be referencing the director of Hunger, Steve McQueen. This is NOT Steve McQueen 60's/70's action film star and heart throb (who died in the 80's). This is British visual artist Steve McQueen. Alright, good to have that out of the way.

Hunger is Steve McQueen's debut feature film, and focuses on the hunger strike led by Bobby Sands in the notorious H-Block during the early 1980's. The hunger strike was an attempt to force the British government into giving political prisoner status to members of the IRA who were imprisoned for violence (including bombings and murder).

Hunger is what movies SHOULD be. It is a visually striking film about an important subject that doesn't take sides. It simply shows the realities of what went on in this prison, and allows its viewers to make their own decisions. McQueen's use of space is haunting and claustrophobic, and he creates a movie that is both moving, and, at times, sickening. Michael Fassbender, who plays Bobby Sands, stands out as an enormous talent in this movie, getting every single look, tone of voice, and reaction spot on. Fassbender knows how to court the audience, and does so incredibly well in this film. Another stand out performance in the film is by Stuart Graham, who plays a guard. Graham show's us every ounce of humanity this guard has (and the occasional lack of it), and puts in a performance that is almost equally intriguing to Fassbender's. McQueen is relentless in his portrayal of the realities behind the domestic terrorism of the IRA, while also showing the reality of a group of people who were fighting back against what they deemed as oppression and injustice. This film is NOT TO BE MISSED. It is on Criterion DVD. Get it and watch it any way you can.

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