Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 71 Ratings

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  • Summary: Hunger follows life in the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland, with an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike led by Bobby Sands. With an epic eye for detail, the film provides a timely exploration of what happens when body and mind are pushed to the uttermost limit. (IFC Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Reyhan Harmanci
    Artful, beautiful in parts and unbelievably brutal in others, and no less honest for its stagecraft.
  2. 100
    Hunger is a mesmerizing 96 minutes of cinema, one of the truly extraordinary filmmaking debuts of recent years. It's also an uneasy, unsettling experience and is meant to be.
  3. A disturbingly avid re-creation of the last six weeks in the life and slow, self-imposed wasting of Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands.
  4. 83
    Hunger may be criticized for being willfully arty, or for reducing a complex political situation to a broadly allegorical vision of martyrdom, but it's never less than visually stunning.
  5. It's a strength of this carefully composed, almost obsessively controlled picture that it has no interest in the conventional biographical focus on a subject.
  6. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    Picture represents a powerful, pertinent but not entirely perfect debut for British visual-artist-turned-feature-helmer Steve McQueen, who demonstrates a painterly touch with composition and real cinematic flair, but who stumbles in film's last furlough with trite symbolism.
  7. Trite, grim and feebly provocative.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Dec 25, 2010
    Harrowing, irreverent, fearless, virtuosic, inimitable, beautiful, unforgettable. Steve McQueen shows himself a true artist; in the hands of a more experienced director, this could have been a film with more technical proficiency and a screenplay that obeyed the traditional laws of character arc and continuity, and as such, would have been another above-average movie about the Irish Troubles to throw on the pile. Cheers to McQueen for having the balls to make the movie he wanted. It's great. Expand
  2. Jun 6, 2014
    I would never know about the “Irish Hunger Strike” in 1981. The terms “The Maze” or “The Troubles” would have been unknown to me if I didn’t see the movie. For 38 years there had been many conflicts between the British and the Irish in the Northern Ireland since 1960. These conflicts are widely known as "The troubles". And "The Maze" is a prison situated in the Northern Ireland, where Irish paramilitary agitators were kept imprisoned. The prisoners started "Blanket" and "No Wash" movement as the political status of those prisoners had been revoked. For these agitations they are brutally tortured by the British Government. But never gave up. Their leader Bobby Sands (Fassbender) started "The Hunger Strike" willing to accept the consequence of this deadly strike!

    Prison officer Remond Lohan cannot recognize himself in the mirror. The bruises on his wrists are humiliating him in every second. He is looking around for any rioter nervously. He is searching underneath his car if it is booby-trapped. That worried face of his wife says it all how a day of a prison Maze officer is elapsed. They have to be something else for doing what they do. They are not proud of what they do. They pretend to be happy and normal with their chitchat and jokes, but they are not.

    The script which is based on a true story is co-written by Enda Walsh and Steve McQueen. I liked the story very very much. As director Steve did a great job. He was as precise as possible. He never tried to overstate or understate things. The screenplay is simply artistic. The cinematography is also commendable.

    For me the is the best work of Fassbender. He pushed his limit for this work. His sacrifice and hard work for this movie is exemplary. Every artist did a fine job with their character.

    Many renowned critics praised this movie and had it on their top 10 lists in the year 2008. But the movie is not as popular as it should have been. But the movie is not as popular as it should have been. It is because of its slow story development. But if someone starts to watch the movie for a while he will find himself lost in the movie. So the viewer should be patient and matured enough to understand the depth and appeal of the story.

    The Verdict: I simply cannot express the caliber of this masterpiece in words. But I tell you this, if you want to know about devotion, about freedom, about sacrifice, watch this movie.

    Reviewer Rating: 5/5
  3. JoeM
    Mar 15, 2009
    Steve McQueen has constructed a film devoid of politics and bias. Instead the emphasis is the bare bones of human conflict and sacrifice. We see the mundane world of tea trolleys and care homes spliced with the blind and bitter violence of the troubles. Despite an obvious visual priority in McQueen's filming their is a poignant concentration on dialoguge, climaxing in the elongated discussion between Sands and his priest. To call the film trite is a lazy accusation, and is mistaking what is the most simple of human communication, emotion. A film of depth and patience that is vital viewing. Expand
  4. raymondh
    Jan 16, 2009
    Far better film than some of the reviews would suggest. A powerful and painful film that shows the relativity of man's brutality, as it moves from victim to perpetrator and back again. The viewer inevitably sides with the prisoner, not the state authority, without regard to the nature of the crimes that resulted in the incarceration in the first place. Expand
  5. Mar 21, 2011
    A very shocking film that depicts atrocities of prison to their extreme. Direction is bold and brilliant and so is the acting especially from Michael Fassbender. The film is not for the faint hearted. Collapse
  6. Mark
    Jul 4, 2009
    Incredibly acted, very long, uninterrupted two-character scene.
  7. Oct 23, 2013
    One of the duller things about discussing this film would be to trudge through the issue of whether it glamorises terrorists. It doesn't. McQueen's movie, starring Michael Fassbender as Sands, paints the hunger strike as tragic but quite without tragic grandeur. It shows how dysfunctional and despairing the whole remorseless process was: how the Irish republican movement, angry and frustrated, chose to put self-harm at the centre of its mythology. The spear of the 32-county nation stabbed itself, in displays of passive-aggressive victimhood whose function was to motivate a new generation of fighters who would be every bit as resentful as their forefathers. The movie shows Sands himself as an intelligent, motivated man, but one who long ago hardened heart and mind to the consequences of violence. It's slow but effective. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews