Courage & Commitment
"Hunger" tells the story of Bobby Sands and his fellow prisoners in Northern Island, who having "took the blanket" led a dirty protest of smearing their prison walls with excrement in part of their campaign for recognition as political prisoners. As time passes Sands and a few others take the decision to go on hunger strike, willing to die through refused eating in order for them to be recognized as political prisoners.
The first thing worth saying about "Hunger" is that it isn't going to be for everyone as this isn't a movie about the entertainment. Yet at the same time it is also a movie which if you stick with it ends up surprisingly captivating. That is what happened to me as I watched "Hunger" because for the first 45 minutes I admittedly found it hard going to become interested in yet by the end I couldn't take my eyes off of it. Having said that "Hunger" is the sort of movie you won't feel a desire to revisit because it simply isn't that sort of movie even if it did end up impressing you.
Now there other things worth saying starting with director Steve McQueen must have some seriously large cojones as considering "Hunger" was his feature film debut he certainly doesn't shy away from delivering his vision. Now his vision when it comes to "Hunger" is certainly in your face at times from seeing walls smeared with excrement to watching the dirty prisoners beaten and battered as the prison guards man handle them to clean them up. But is also in your face in an almost artistic sort of way as well with many a scene feeling a little indulgent especially during the first half as for example we watch a guard with blood knuckles smoking a cigarette in the snow, a scene which has a purpose but goes on a little too long.
It is also worth mentioning the commitment to the roles of all those involved with of course Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands standing out from the crowd. A big part of that is seeing Fassbender's emaciated body as he lost 3 stone in weight for the hunger strike scenes and it does have a huge impact especially when the make up department also did a fantastic job of adding sores to Fassbender's frail looking body. But it is also worth mentioning the fantastic scene which Fassbender has with Liam Cunningham, a scene which lasts 17 1/2 minutes and features them talking to each other. The thing is that it is one single shot of these two either side of the table, no cuts, no camera movements, just 17 minutes of face to face dialogue and it is seriously impressive.
What this all boils down to is that "Hunger" does end up an impressive, captivating movie with a powerful look, distinct style and a committed performance from Michael Fassbender. But it is a movie which won't be for everyone especially those who only watch a movie to be entertained.