Quickie: Steve McQueen’s Hunger (2008)

Only a mind like Steve McQueen could make nearly 96 minutes of Michael Fassbender playing around with his own feces, smoking cigarettes, and trolling prison officers an exquisite accomplishment in nonfictional storytelling.

Hunger is a historical film that has no intentions but to accurately reenact the excruciating events that would occur in the Northern Ireland Maze Prison. Not once does the film feel like it has some secondary agenda to expose matters of selfish endeavors that may please a more contemporary audience who are used to the three-act, hero’s journey structure—even though plenty of critics have claimed that this movie is unnecessarily “artsy,” which is the lousiest way one could criticize a piece that is trying as rigorously as possible to emulate starvation. It’s a quiet, restrained account that lets its uncanny realism take its toll on the viewer however it so desires.

But I guess what I’m trying to say is that Hunger is one of the most respectful live-action retellings ever made; it’s exceptionally considerate for all the individuals who were involved in the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike. Let Steve McQueen’s success be a model for what to utilize when retelling such a personal narrative.

And that 17-minute, dialogue-pervaded one-take. HOW??? McQueen and Fassbender not receiving an Academy Award nomination for this is absolute bull.

Verdict: A-

“Hunger” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and The Criterion Channel.

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