Once every five years a movie comes along that does an excellent job of being cinematic but works to explore the frailty of humanity and how fighting for independence in horrible circumstances can lead those around you to be empowered and do equally great things, such is the case with Steve McQueen’s debut feature Hunger. The film revolves around a member of the Irish Republican Army who was put in prison because he and a bunch of IRA members wanted to regain political status in the eyes of the British republic. Since the rights of the IRA members were being denied Bobby Sands decided that the only way to get the British government to listen to their demands for political accept and freedom was to go on a hunger strike.
Hunger is a gripping dramatization of those last few weeks in 1981 when the hunger strike took place. This film is gripping and unconventional in its storytelling. Every bruise, cut, scrape, or piece of personal embarrassment that the prisoners in Maze prison go through we witness. It breaks my heart to know that such cruel things were done to these individuals, but those incidents are what make this film so special. The lack of compassion these prisoners are shown and the intense amount of humiliation they endure is inconceivable. When I try and think about films that come close to showcasing human beings lack of humanity I recall films like Glory, Roots, and Amistad. While these films involve a very different kind of forced imprisonment they do showcase the brutality of man and the human race at one of its darkest points in history. I like films like these not because they remind me of how far society has come but, they also show me how much society has left to learn. We will never be able to heal those minds that have been broken by their time in Maze camp but I commend director Steve Mcqueen for fighting to get this story told and telling it in a very detailed and I believe honesty way. Bobby Sands fought for the rights of his friends and fellow prisoners and I think he would find this film to be a just representation of what he fought for.