Hunger left me full

Hunger movie poster

Hunger is the first feature film from visual artist Steve McQueen, and man is he going to be someone to look out for in the future. While this movie is not going to be for most people, those who can stomach the nature of this beast are surely going to be impressed.

The movie is about the hunger strike lead by IRA member Bobby Sands, and the life and times of being in and working for the HM Prison Maze during the 1980s. What the amazing thing about the film is that pretty much 3/4’s of it plays out like a silent film. There is action on the screen and we hear a lot of background noise but there is no forced narrative or voice over work letting us know what is going on. SOOOO that means you are going to have to pay attention. The only real dialog we get in the film is a 16 minute single shot done in one take of a conversation between Bobby and a priest right before he starts his hunger strike.

Hunger Michael Fassbender

16 minutes of this

I would not be the best person to comment on the actual events or times of Ireland during that period but this movie is not really about that. It is more of a fly on the wall look of what these men did to them selves and what was done to them. The only time you ever question what is going on is when the priest tells Bobby that he doesn’t care about his life, and you have to think if what they are doing is really worth it.

It feels odd saying I like a film this brutal and intense, its grosser and more disturbing then any Saw film, yet its one of the most dramatic and well acted films I’ve seen in some time. Its similar to The Passion of Christ. But its not just beating we see on the screen, we see the gross things these prisoners did to themselves (like smearing feces on prison walls) to get their point across. Also we see how this life effects one prison guard. It’s a captivating film and certainly not for the weak. McQueen’s goal is to get you to feel the effects of the beatings, smell the nastiness of the living conditions and it does so to amazing effect.

This film is McQueen’s film but at the same time it would have been nothing if not for his lead, the soon to be well known Michael Fassbender. While pretty much being a blonde version of Christian Bale he also takes a page out of Bale’s book of acting and went all out crash diet for this film. Luckily for him though the hard work paid off thanks to the director. We first see Fassbender about 20 minutes into the movie as he is being thrown down a beating line for the prisoners, and yes they used real billy clubs on the actor. He looks like a typical skinny guy, but after he makes the decision to start the hunger strike he looks so emaciated and just skin and bones, covered in bed sores its almost sickening to see.

Hunger Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender

McQueen Directs Fassbener on how to properly smear poo

After hearing McQueen talk about the film on the DVD you can tell he is just a mad genius, also what was odd is that he is nothing like you would expect someone who has made a movie like this. He seems like this nice jovial sort of a guy and not some pretentious super artsy guy in love with his work. I think he knows he is good and is why he is a bit cocky. The funniest part about this interview was when he was talking about the 10 week hiatus they took from shooting so Fassbender could lose the weight. He talked about the toil in his head leading up to seeing Michael. Hoping at first that he had lost enough weight and then BRILLIANT HE HAS….is he alright? but BRILLIANT he looks perfect!

I cannot wait for McQueen’s next film, while hopefully its not as soul crushing as this, and not showing off what he can do with the camera. Either way it will be interesting none the less.

An early McQueen work:

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About koutchboom


12 responses to “Hunger left me full”

  1. Jarv says :

    Fuck this.

    I pathalogically despise the IRA and apologism for the murderous cunts.

    I like McQueen, and I liked his Turner Prize winning bit of art, so I was interested in this. Until I found out what it was about.

    • koutchboom says :

      Yeah see I don’t know enough about the IRA background to have that sort of reaction to it. There was a BBC special on the DVD I’ve yet to watch.

      It really is like the Passion of Christ in that aspect, just showing what this man went through. Hate him or not. I think they show enough of both sides for it to be fairly unbiased. I mean that conversation alone pretty much points out that he’s just being a selfish idiot.

  2. koutchboom says :

    Understand that there is probably more shit and piss in this film then any other film you’ve seen. Its like the most prestigious piss and shit film ever made.

  3. Jarv says :

    Any film about that murderous hunger striking cunt is automatically going to be apologising for them

    I was going to embed the Turner prize winning McQueen film, but Koutch has done it.

  4. lordbronco says :

    Kouch-The IRA are a militant terrorist group who have been embroiled in a 150 year war in Ireland-the longest one in Western Countries modern history. Our generation is the first to see any kind of peace in all this time–and it’s a blessing that the “Troubles” have been ended without further terrorist bombings since I believe the 1990s.

    You see either side of the two factions portrayed many times in 1990s action movies, but that does a disservice to how viciously the two factions exploded bars and pubs on regular basis up to and including the 1990s. English-speaking westerners bombing and assassinating each other right and left-quite viscous stuff.

    I point this out because to people living there-it *really* isn’t something to joke about-which you haven’t, but beware.

    A quick story. We had a successful Irish immigrant here in the states back in the 1990s-who is still fine. We also had a very dumb friend and another friend. The one friend told the dummy- “Go tell him he’s an Orangeman”.
    That would be either the Protestant or Catholic faction I presume. Either way, the results were instantaneous.

    He literally nearly beat him up on the spot while bartending-it was quite intense.

    Anyway, It reminds me of being of being in Turkey, where I semi-narrowly missed being in a bar that was bombed by PKK (Kurdish) seperatists. A different issue entirely, but that was one thing I took away from the encounter with europe/Asia-the areas are much tighter and sometimes deadly serious.

    • koutchboom says :

      Well thats what I said. I’m not the best to comment on the actual real life history that comes to the table for this story.

      I mean the director called the event the most important event in recent history for the British Isles. So obviously he was bringing a certain baggage to the story, but I really think that it is an unbiased movie, if anything its anti Bobby Sands.

      Also I did live in England for three years. But never visited Ireland.

    • koutchboom says :

      We had a successful Irish immigrant here in the states

      That makes it sound like you grew him/made him or something. I didn’t realize there was a high unsuccessful rate of Irish immigrants to America.

      • lordbronco says :

        He made himself and nearly unmade himself by philandering on one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever laid eyes on. He was a twat, and so was that entire crew that hung with him-I told them all to take a flying leap.

    • Jarv says :

      Not to pick a side in this, as I think both sets of sectarians are scum,

      But the Unionists tended to do shitty things in Ulster. The IRA waged a war of terror on mainland Britain- blowing up such essential military targets as Shopping Centres, town centres, pubs, hotels, and other such likes.

      I’m one of Thatcher’s children, and grew up in the North in the 80’s and I distinctly remember several individual bombs causing huge amounts of damage.

      The current “ceasefire” isn’t down to any act of appeasement that turd Blair did, it’s wholly down to 9/11.

      All the cretinous Boston Noraid supporting plastic paddy fucks have suddenly realised that they aren’t supporting heroes and as such have cut them off. As a result, they haven’t the funds to continue with their craven decimation of England (which they would do- I could explain why, but it’ll take forever) and have therefore taken up proper organised crime such as bank robberies. They are vermin, and the fact that that murdering cunt McGuinness is minister for Education in NI is despicable.

      An Orangeman is a sash wearing, marching, bigoted, protestant prick. My father is protestant Irish and he fucking hates them. They are also pretty rampant in Glasgow.

  5. koutchboom says :

    Yeah good call. Glad you enjoyed it. Its a brutal film.

    I think it should be seen on its film making merits alone.

  6. Jarv says :

    Sensible or not, the only stance is that he was a murdering cunt.

  7. koutchboom says :

    Ok I guess I need to know what Bobby Sands did? Did he plant a bomb? I guess I should go look.

    I think you will be surprised as to what this movie really is Jarv. It more of a prison movie then any political statement movie. Its about showing you what they did to themselves and what was done to them in Prison. And like I say most of the movie is just a fly on the wall. McQueen was trying to capture what it most of been like to be there, but once the Hunger strike happens, there literally is nothing else said in the movie and its more about seeing the physical effects he went through. Since you have an opinion about it I’d really like to know what you thought of the movie. Maybe you’ll turn it off five minutes in I don’t know. Just be interesting to get your take on it.

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