Hungry?Apr 17th, 2009 | By dilan | Category: Dilan, Film
Directed by Steve McQueen, an English born artist better known for winning the Turner Prize in 1999, Hunger is a debut that has already won two awards one of which was at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008.
The film is set in Maze prison, Northern Ireland just outside of Belfast in 1981 under Margaret Thatcher’s conservative rule. It follows the life of Bobby Sands, a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), played by Michael Fassbender, and his fellow in-mates as they protest to win political status.
The first scene introduces prison guard Raymond Lohan, played by Stuart Graham, as he prepares to go to work. We see him get dressed and eat breakfast watching slowly as breadcrumbs cascade onto his lap, it is these camera angles that give away McQueen’s artistic history. Later a wide long shot shows Graham’s character smoking a cigarette, the harsh stone wall he is leaning on contrasting the pure white snow that falls around him. It showcases McQueen’s meticulous attention to detail and his flair of combining art with film.
As the focus shifts to the prisoners we see the harsh treatment and living conditions they endure and we witness their resistance to the prison regime as ‘non-conforming’ prisoners. At this point I would like to point out it is not advisable to take in any snacks as walls smeared with feces and crawling with maggots is surely enough to put anyone off their toffee popcorn.
It is definitely a thought provoking film and has a way of dragging out the pain you see on screen with few cuts and minimal dialogue. However this can be tiedious at times with one scene in particular lasting over twenty minutes with the camera in the same position for the duration. Other than that it is a visually impressive film that will stay with you for long after you’ve left the cinema.