Country: United Kingdom
Director: Steve McQueen
Screenwriters: Enda Walsh, Steve McQueen
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham
British visual artist Steve McQueen's debut focuses on the 1981 hunger strike staged by imprisoned IRA agent Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender). The film's power lies in the attention to physical detail rather than dialogue: the expression of the guards before a controlled beating, the cleaning of a hallway filled with piss, the labored breaths of a dying man.
Shot with a painterly eye for composition, Hunger is an ordeal. Viewers are made to endure the realities of the human body under duress, and there is nothing else like it. McQueen won numerous awards and grants for his first feature including a BAFTA award for "Special Achievement by a British Director." It's helped usher in a new phase of artists making successful and provocative films, most notably followed by designer Tom Ford's A Single Man. —GT