A harrowing journey of torture, defiance and suffering.

Bobby Sands, one of the Irish political prisoners of the British, leads his group through a series of protests against the Prison and the British as a whole. It culminates with the lot of them going on a hunger strike. Steve McQueen, the director of Hunger gives us enough time and reason to understand the character and the reason behind the protest, until eventually taking us through Sands’ harrowing journey of torture, defiance and suffering. But he does so silently. The 96-minute movie hardly has any dialogues, maybe four spoken scenes in all. He instead prefers to show us actions, reactions, and counter-actions. He shows us silent plotting and silent protests. We see the wardens’ emotions and the visitors’ despair. But we hardly hear any lines. Images of bloody knuckles and nervous riot-police firmly root the movie to a reality that defies disbelief. You have a reasoning behind the purpose (the protests), and hence a concern for the oppressed. Effectively, the movie ends up saying so much more than words could have accomplished. But for such word-starved movie, the pivotal scene is a centerpiece 17-minute single-shot dialogue between Bobby Sands and a priest. Before Sands’ going on hunger strike, him and a priest two have a conversation across a table – the camera sits at a vantage point, fixed for the length of the scene. The conversation, in content, manner of delivery, and specifically it’s length, lends such fierce strength to the movie that it transcends wonder and achieves amazement & a hearty applause, and an immersive believability that carries on for the remainder of the movie. Thankfully, it does not overshadow the movie, but rather becomes the integral component to make Hunger one of the best movies of the year.

Rating: ★★★★★

About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.