A film based on the Maze prison hunger strikes of 1981 was never going to be light viewing but what the English director Steve McQueen has created is something that's compelling as much as it is shocking.
Hunger is centred on republican army member Bobby Sands (Fassbender) as he leads the Maze prisoners on the "dirty" protests and then hunger strike as the prisoners fight for political status. Davey (Milligan) arrives at the Maze and refuses to cooperate with the authorities he becomes the roommate of Gerry (Campbell) a protestor who has smeared faeces from floor to ceiling in his cell. The films focus then switches to Sands and his fight for justice.
It's a very powerful and highly emotive film, its devoid of embellishments and additions the story is very much left to speak for itself, who needs words when the condition of a prison cell is testament to the strength of belief of its inhabitants. Fassbender is powerful and controlled as Sands – a man so focused that starving himself to death is seen as acceptable. The visual image of Sands during his hunger strike will stay with me for some time.
The scene with Sands and the priest (Cunningham) is one of the most powerful and compelling I have seen in some time. There is nothing on the screen apart from two amazing actors and great dialogue.
McQueen has created a film that neither judges, condones or condemns the actions of the Maze prisoners in 1981, he just presents the story and leaves the audience to discuss and decide. This film will divide opinion over recent events in history but it also serves as reminders of how bad the troubles actually were and how we are in a much better place today.
Director: Steve McQueen
Michael Fassbender – Bobby Sands
Stuart Graham – Ray Lohan
Liam Cunningham – Father Dominic Moran
Brian Milligan – Davey Gillen
Liam McMahon – Gerry Campbell
Read more at: Nerve Curve