by Allan Fish
(UK 2008 95m) DVD1/2
Business of the soul
p Laura Hastings-Smith, Robin Gutch d Steve McQueen w Edna Walsh, Steve McQueen ph Sean Bobbitt ed Joe Walker m David Holmes, Leo Abrahams art Tom McCullagh
Michael Fassbender (Bobby Sands), Liam Cunningham (Father Dominic Moran), Stuart Graham (Ray Lohan), Liam McMahon (Gerry), Ciaran Flynn (young Bobby), Helen Madden (Mrs Sands), Des McAleer (Mr Sands), Dennis McCambridge (governor),
There’s something about the Irish ‘Troubles’ that meant that, so long as the sectarian disputes were raging, filmmakers tended to shy away. Since the shaky peace, we’ve had stacks of films, from In the Name of the Father to The General, from The Crying Game to Bloody Sunday, not to mention films of a more historical standpoint, like Michael Collins and The Wind That Shakes the Barley. All are intriguing films, all excellent films on their own level, but not really capturing the real struggle of that horrendous time.
Growing up in Britain in the early 80s, it’s impossible not to know of Bobby Sands, the IRA political prisoner (though they weren’t granted that status, which was largely what the protests were about) who led a group of 10 men into starving themselves to death on a hunger strike in the Maze prison in 1981. I remember vividly as a boy hearing daily reports on the radio about Sands’ condition and thinking, with each day of his 66 day strike, that I couldn’t last so many hours without food, let alone days. More than any other film, Hunger captures the real unshaking belief not just in the cause the IRA fought for, but in their belief to be taken seriously, ransoming their own bodies as a final means of protest to ransom the hard-line Thatcherite administration. (more…)