Hunger (2008)Closed Captioning
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Film debut from British artist Steve McQueen, "Hunger" follows life in the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland, with an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding Bobby Sands' 1981 IRA Hunger Strike. With an epic eye for detail, McQuenn provides a timely exploration of what happens when body and mind are pushed to the uttermost limit. "Once upon a better time, there were audiences who looked for hardscrabble movies that pushed them out of their comfort zones into uncharted territory. Hunger is such a movie. It's an artistic triumph...a sensory wallop... Shockingly immediate and philosophically reflective... an indelibly moving tribute to what makes us human" -Travers, Rolling Stone. "I've seen "Hunger" three times...with each screening the spectacle of violence, suffering, and pain becomes more awful and more awe-inspiring" -Hoberman, Village Voice. Best Film- Chigago Film Festival. From IFC Films.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 115
- Fresh: 104
- Rotten: 11
- Average Rating: 7.8/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: With calm, deliberate attention -- an approach at once compassionate and dispassionate -- Hunger explores physical extremity and political extremism.
Fresh: A mesmerizing 96 minutes of cinema, one of the truly extraordinary filmmaking debuts of recent years.
Fresh: It's a strength of this carefully composed, almost obsessively controlled picture that it has no interest in the conventional biographical focus on a subject.
Fresh: It's rigorous, evocative, and, in spite of its grisly imagery, elegant. It's a triumph -- of masochistic literal-mindedness.
Beautifully executed !
You don't expect it from the movie, but it draws you in without you realizing it ! Masterful directing, powerful acting ! One of those rare movies that stay with you long after final credits ! Two thumbs up !!!
Shows how shameful the politics of the time really were...
I have always been ashamed of my English heritage with regards to the treatment of the people who were fighting for Irish independence. Fassbender's willingness to go to the point of being that sickeningly thin added realism to the suffering of the participants of the hunger strike in 1981. I think this film reminds us all of how remote politics is from what is really going on in our neighborhoods. If the politicians found themselves on the front lines of Afghanistan being the bullet sponges, I wonder how willing they would be to cater to the oil companies and vehicle manufacturers who do not want to make bio-diesel/electric hybrids and assure that Americans can keep jobs and be able to afford to buy them.
What should the viewer know before seeing this movie?
First, the acting in this film is superb. It is believable, raw, intense, and attractive in the sense that you want to look away many times but you are pulled to the screen during even the most physically gruesome and demanding moments. I cannot say enough about Michael Fassbender's portrayal. He went to extremes to make himself truly appear to be Bobby Sands. He actually becomes Sands by extreme weight loss. I read he lost 6 stone which seems almost unbelievable until you actually see him. The only reason I will rate this movie less than 5 stars is because although the events in history are likely known to the Irish, the English, Welsh, and Scottish, I don't think that most people under 40 in the US will remember what was going on before and in 1981, so they have little frame of reference. The script fails the viewer in that respect. And although I knew a little about the hunger strikes, I had no understanding of the devastating pain that comes with not eating for two months. It would be helpful to know a bit about the situation between Northern Ireland and England and the turmoil that had erupted and came to a head just about the time Sands died. I think the script was well written but a little too much film was left on the editing floor. Some context would have been helpful rather than including a couple of the scenes where you see the prisoners just sitting in their own filth slowly going mad. While those scenes are necessary to draw the viewer into the plight of these men, I cannot help but want a little more film time devoted to what caused Sands to get to prison in the first place. Even some narrative typeset frames could have been added at different points during the movie without much interruption in the flow. Great film overall. Rent it first and then decide whether to buy it. Just can't say enough about Michael Fassbender's performance and dedication to becoming Bobby Sands. He is truly an exquisite artist who has taken control and command of his role in this film.