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Hunger [DVD] [2008]

81 customer reviews

Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Liam McMahon, Stuart Graham, Brian Milligan
  • Directors: Steve McQueen
  • Writers: Steve McQueen, Enda Walsh
  • Producers: Andrew Litvin, Edmund Coulthard, Iain Canning, Jan Younghusband, Laura Hastings-Smith
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Feb. 2009
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001L7XND2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,969 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Steve McQueen directs this unflinching dramatisation of the last weeks in the life of Bobby Sands, the Provisional IRA member who led the 1981 Irish hunger strike in the political wing of Belfast's Maze Prison. Ten prisoners starved themselves to death in protest at being denied official political prisoner status by Margaret Thatcher's government. Michael Fassbender plays Sands, whose passionate commitment to the cause for which he has been imprisoned and in the righteousness of dying for his political beliefs is portrayed in a central scene where he discusses the morality of the hunger strike with a visiting priest (Liam Cunningham). The film premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, where it was given an 'Un Certain Regard' screening.

From Amazon.co.uk

It’s a bold film that can seat two people opposite each other for nearly 20 minutes, just having a conversation. Hunger is that movie. What’s particularly impressive is just how enthralling the scene is, and how it makes cinematic gold out of something seemingly so straightforward. Yet straightforward is something that director Steve McQueen’s debut behind the camera absolutely isn’t. Hunger is the story of the IRA hunger strike at the Maze Prison in 1981, and it quickly pulls little punches in getting across the conditions in the prison, and the inmates’ dissatisfaction.

Hunger treads a very careful political line throughout its running time, and what emerges is a surprisingly open drama, powered by an excellent performance from Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands. As Sands embarks on his infamous hunger strike, Fassbender mesmerises in the role, leading up to the aforementioned, gripping, single conversation that’s the highlight of the film. Mark him down as a major talent to watch. Alongside Fassbender, director Steve McQueen does really quite sterling work with Hunger. It can’t have been an easy film to direct by any measure, yet he turns in a harrowing piece of cinema that leaves the judgements to the viewer. It’s challenging film making and--despite a little stumbling as it enters its final act--it’s some piece of cinema too. --Jon Foster

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Feb. 2014
Format: Blu-ray
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of this harrowing account of the Hunger Strikes in Northern Ireland during the height of the 'Troubles'. The BLU RAY of Steve McQueen's remarkable film is available in two versions - but if you're a UK fan - which issue to buy?

Unfortunately the uber-desirable USA Criterion release is REGION-A LOCKED although it doesn't say so on Amazon.
So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don't confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front - that won't help.

Luckily the Euro (German) issue is REGION B - so that will play on UK machines (has German writing all over the back cover).

Check you're purchasing the right version before you buy the pricey Criterion release...
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Elias M VINE VOICE on 15 May 2009
Format: DVD
On a literal level, Steve McQueen's feature debut, Hunger, delineates the events surrounding the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike, led by Bobby Sands. It is also a meditation on the human body as political weapon, as well as an abstraction on what it means to die for a cause.
In spite of McQueen's celebrated status as a Turner Prize winning artist who has a long experience working in the film medium, the journey to realising his creative vision with Hunger was far from problem-free. At a Q&A session I attended towards the close of 2008, the film's producers, Laura Hastings-Smith and Robin Gutch, described the difficulty they encountered in trying to raise funds for the project. McQueen's perceived "radical" ideas, which included exploring the possibility of making a silent film, made some potential sponsors feel jittery.
The first third of the film is almost devoid of any dialogue at all whilst it works to set the scene. Silence is contrasted against the centrepiece of the film - a twenty-two minute duologue between Bobby Sands and a Catholic priest, in which both men discuss the utility or futility of a hunger strike. This is followed by a monologue by a doctor's detailed description to Sands' parents about the effect of starvation on the human body. The third act observes the six-week disintegration of Sands' body during his hunger strike, which proves to be both engrossing and almost impossible to watch. Hunger, in the end is an indelibly powerful, poetic and provocative work - both emotionally and intellectually.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By haunted on 8 Dec. 2008
Format: DVD
It is, of course, impossible to make a non political film about the Maze Hunger Strikes of the early 80's. The events came from the political situation in Northern Ireland of the previous 12 (60?) years.

In my opinion McQueen does the right thing by concentrating on a single particular and admittedly very dramatic event of the period. Perhaps someone will one day make a comprehensive epic about the period but maybe it isn't the time yet. The general political details of how the protests arose are given in the film but mostly the camera just shows the events as they arise without comment.

The film has 3 parts. The first shows the self imposed conditions the prisoners lived in during the Blanket and Dirty protests. While I knew this involved them spreading their own excrement on the walls of their cells it is still a bit of a shock to see it re-enacted on screen. There are also long scenes showing the mistreatment by the prison guards. At one point I was thinking that the filmmaker was showing bias by spending so much time on this brutality. There is then a brief scene showing one of the prison officers being shot in the back of the head while visiting his senile mother in a nursing home.
Which actions are more brutal? Are any of them justified? McQueen leaves it up to the viewer to decide.
The middle section is an extended converstion between hunger strike leader Bobby Sands and a priest before the strike begins. They discuss the morality and motivation of the strike. Again McQueen sets out both views and leaves the decisions up to the viewer. I found one suggestion the priest made very interesting i.e. that Sands desperately wanted to be included in the Pantheon of Irish Republican martyrs such as Tone and Pearse.
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Format: DVD
This is going to be a very serious and a very sad film.

Im guessing the guy at the start is high up in the prison system.

The scenes are very long and considered. - Good film making - Kubriesque in its approach.

"I will not wear the uniform of a criminal. I demand to wear my own clothes."

The tension builds in a very harrowing film.

The cell that the prisoner is put in is absolutely horrific.

"How long did you get?"
- "Twelve years."

The director Steve McQueen also directed Shame and you can see his directing style coming through.

I've seen Shame and I really enjoyed it. - It too is a shocking film but this film feels even more shocking!

There's very little dialogue and given the length of the scenes its almost more like a documentary in its feel.

"Get ready!"

He's got blood on his hands.

That cell is in dire need of being cleaned!!

"Are you alright Bobby?!"
- "I'm grand Ma!"

It is absolutely disgusting how they pass messages and packages when seeing loved ones and relatives.

It looks like they've been given clothes to go and play golf in!!

The whole process is one will against the other.

Its an absolutely tragic film and there's parts where you seen the situation from other peoples' point of views. For example the very scared looking riot policeman who as the scenes progress plays no part and is in floods of tears.

I did not see the scene in the old peoples' home coming.

The scene between Bobby and the priest is the first scene in the film where there is extended dialogue.

"Maybe. Never tried it before."

So Bobby is going to start a hunger strike.
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