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DVD Pick: Hunger

An emotional and artistic take on the 1981 Irish prison hunger strike led by IRA militant Bobby Sands

Hunger
Director: Greg Mottola

An emotional and artistic take on the 1981 Irish prison hunger strike led by IRA militant Bobby Sands, Hunger fully engages the senses, metaphorically if not literally.

So powerful are the images of blood and bodily waste, viewed here as symbols both of martyrdom and defiance, that you can almost smell and taste them, too.

This is savage poetry, where smeared feces become op art in the eye of director Steve McQueen and the camera lens of cinematographer Sean Bobbitt.

The film isn’t concerned with the fine details of history, even when they might reinforce the drama.

Anyone coming without prior knowledge to story, which is split into three rough sections, might well be baffled.

Messianic firebrand Sands, played with astounding clarity by Michael Fassbender, doesn’t enter the frame until near the one-hour mark. And British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is entirely off-camera, heard only as a defiant voice in news clips as she denounces the IRA as “terrorists.”

These structural oddities might sink a more conventional movie.

Relying on images more than words, Hunger is a plea for humanity in times of insanity.

 
 
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