Hunger

Hunger

DVD - 2009
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In Northern Ireland's Maze prison in 1981, 27-year-old Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands went on a hunger strike to protest the British government's refusal to recognize him and his fellow IRA inmates as political prisoners. A transcedent depiction of what a human being is willing to endure in order to be heard.

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ba_library
Jun 19, 2017

Do you really want to watch a film about a guy starving to death? I didn't really, but I do like director Steve McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender. It is a difficult topic and subject and Northern Ireland "troubles" continue to exist. The treatment of prisoners at the Maze prison were quite brutal but should they be martyrs for a cause? The story/script was a bit jumbled for me. Starts with a guy who appears to be a prison officer or some such, who eventually gets shot in the head while visiting his mother in the old folks home - not sure if that was supposed to represent some of the random violence inflicted by the I.R.A. The film has bits of Margaret Thatcher saying the I.R.A. prisoners are terrorists and should be treated as criminals but the prisoners want special privileges and designation as "political prisoners." A confusing/complex setting for those of us outside the U.K. You never find out why Bobby Sands was imprisoned or why he felt compelled to die for his cause. The film is quite violent (beatings) and has some male nudity. There are no subtitles and the Northern Irish accent gets quite thick - especially during an important, but long scene when Sands is talking to a priest. Be sure to watch The Provos' Last Card under the Supplements option. It is a 45 minute t.v. special from a show called Pamorama that covers the death of Sands and the I.R.A. situation from locals and politicals. Some call them "freedom fighters" others want nothing to do with the I.R.A. and their violence.

m
muffinpopcorn
Nov 18, 2015

Very good , would watch it again

r
Ron@Ottawa
Oct 16, 2015

This is a prison drama filled with brutality and male nudity. Directing and acting by the cast are exceptional. But if you are seeking `entertainment`, avoid this at all cost as the story is bleak and some scenes are hard to stomach.

b
BertBailey
Apr 08, 2015

Good flick about what some can do when deprived of options.
Silly, though, to buy a flick with such strongly-accented language (Irish English) without close-captions ...and not just for the hearing impaired. I'm sure most will be baffled by its dialogue.

n
Nursebob
Dec 27, 2014

Set in the early 80’s, “Hunger” recounts the events leading up to Bobby Sands’ six-week long hunger strike in Northern Ireland’s notorious Maze prison. Sands was serving a twelve-year sentence for I.R.A. activities and his hunger strike was part of an ongoing campaign to have I.R.A. inmates classified as political prisoners by the English government. Sands died from self-imposed starvation along with 8 other men. Director McQueen started out as an artist and it shows. “Hunger” is powerfully filmed with long deliberate takes that rely as much on imagery as dialogue to tell the story. Although it is told mainly from the prisoners’ point of view, it is not a political film as such. Rather it is a film about the power of ideology......the passions that drive us and make us willing to sacrifice anything, even our very lives, for a higher cause. Conversely it also shows the emotional turmoil of those who begin to doubt the beliefs on which their actions are based. In filming Sands’ self-sacrifice McQueen makes definite comparisons to the story of Christ. In one scene a guard holds his emaciated body in a pose reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Pieta and in another deeply moving sequence an orderly slowly applies salve to his many bedsores. This can be somewhat problematic depending on your own personal opinion of the I.R.A. and it’s activities....and Sands is definitely not presented as a sympathetic character. Personally I didn’t see the compassionate Shepherd of the gospels but rather an angry revolutionary Christ ardently, perhaps recklessly, embracing his cross. The performances are excellent all around, the script sharp and intelligent especially the exchange between Sands and a priest who tries to dissuade him, and the cinematography truly inspired. The final scenes are pure poetry.

aaa5756 Aug 31, 2014

This wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen, it is far from being good. I fast forwarded a lot but not all the way.

NightGoat72 Feb 23, 2014

Steve McQueen is a hack who makes incredibly boring, empty films. He fixates on the minutiae of misery and degradation with no compassion or empathy.

voisjoe1 Sep 24, 2012

This movie was like "In the Name of the Father" on steroids. It depicts the absolute torture of IRA prisoners and the prisoner rebellion because they were treated as criminals rather than political prisoners. The depiction of Bobby Sands wasting away during his 66 day hunger strike is devastating. The long dialog with the priest trying to talk Bobby Sands out of his plan to starve himself to death is a highlight of the film.

wayne19711012 Sep 04, 2012

what did they want again ?

xaipe Aug 12, 2012

Hunger is a very hard movie to watch, but it's one of the best movies I've ever seen. Michael Fassbender's portrayal of Bobby Sands is astonishing in his willingness to starve himself into an accurate depiction of Sands' emaciated body near death. It was not about the rights and wrongs of the British in Northern Ireland, but about inhumane prison conditions, the steely determination of IRA members like Bobby Sands, and a rock and a hard place. Twice we hear the voice of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher describing the inmates of the Maze prison in Belfast not as political prisoners but criminals. The IRA considered itself political to the core. The ideology involved is not even mentioned in the long dialogue scene between Sands and a priest about whether a hunger strike will have the desired effect. The priest, worldly, and a realist, never once mentioned suicide as a sin. He discussed it entirely in terms of its usefulness.
Sands thought that starvation to death would have a profound effect. The priest observed that if it does, Sands will by then be dead. Sands' willingness to die reflects the bone-deep beliefs of the Irish Republicans. After the death toll climbed to 10, Thatcher at last relented, tacitly granting the prisoners political recognition, although she refused to say so out loud. She was called the Iron Lady for a reason. Today there is peace in Northern Ireland. The island nation is still divided. Bobby Sands is dead. The priest had his conclusions, the dead man had his, or would if he were alive.
Sands's death led to riots and bus burnings and in Europe, there were widespread protests after his death.

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voisjoe1 Sep 24, 2012

voisjoe1 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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