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Starring: Michael Fassbender, Stuart Graham, Helena Bereen, Larry Cowan

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Produced by: Robin Gutch, Laura Hastings-Smith

Written by: Enda Walsh

Distributor: IFC Films

     It’s hard for me to conjure up enough enthusiasm to write  about Hunger, British videographer Steve McQueen's film-debut about imprisoned Irish Republican Bobby Sands' (Michael Fassbender) fatal will-power during the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike, because I haven’t come across a film so pointlessly grueling in a very long time.

     Hunger isn't too concerned with the historical details of the strike: Sands is provided four long takes (two of which go on for so long they'll undoubtedly be praised by film-school students even though McQueen merely employs a stationary camera) to explain the cause and his passion for it to a priest. These aren't involving on a content-level; they are only worthy in that they prove actor Fassbender is a more skilled thespian than his performance in 300 might’ve led us to believe. Fassbender is able to command the screen for long stretches of time, a skill that will undoubtedly prove useful in better future efforts. Keep an eye out for him.

     The rest of the movie consists almost exclusively of shot-after-shot of Sands' body as he grows progressively weaker from not eating. It's a painful and tedious experience—and not in the way McQueen wants it to be. The fact that he puts the viewer through hell proves nothing because it doesn't lend to an enhancement of his narrative. In fact, more times than not, it feels like McQueen is indulging in brutal imagery because it looks cool—he sure likes extreme close-ups of flesh—not because it portrays a hunger-strike experience in a painfully authentic manner. I tired of the experience very early on because it didn't teach me anything valuable and there was no reason for me to be taking part in it.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 11.2.2008

Screened on: 11.7.2008 at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood, CA.


Hunger is Not Rated and runs 96 minutes.

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