I have now seen every feature length film that Steve McQueen has directed and I got to say, Hunger is my favorite. It was McQueen’s directorial debut and a wake up call to film fans because the man came onto the scene with a damn near masterpiece. He worked with Michael Fassbender on Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years a Slave and they have some of the best chemistry in cinematic history. McQueen has been able to get Fassy to do anything and everything as three totally different characters.
1981 Northern Ireland is the setting as we see Davey Gillen, a new IRA prisoner, thrown into prison naked with just a small blanket. We see chaos and violence in the prison and extra violence towards Bobby Sands who is clearly leading the charge for the prisoners. Sands decides to take things to a new level of protest when he heads up the 1981 IRA hunger strike.
Steve McQueen is so bloody talented and his best stuff lies within Hunger. There’s about a 15 minute scene where the camera stays in the same exact spot as Fassy’s Bobby Sands and Liam Cunningham’s Father Dominic Moran talk about the morality of a hunger strike. It is one of the strongest scenes that I’ve ever encountered and Fassbender did things physically for the role that not many are capable of. Hunger knows exactly what story it’s trying to tell and it succeeds in every technical category a film can offer.