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Hunger (The Criterion Collection) (1905)

Michael Fassbender , Stuart Graham , Steve McQueen  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Fassbender, Stuart Graham, Liam Cunningham
  • Directors: Steve McQueen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: February 16, 2010
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,723 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hunger (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

With Hunger, British filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen has turned one of history’s most controversial acts of political defiance into a jarring, unforgettable cinematic experience. In Northern Ireland’s Maze prison in 1981, twenty-seven-year-old Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands went on a hunger strike to protest the British government’s refusal to recognize him and his fellow IRA inmates as political prisoners, rather than as ordinary criminals. McQueen dramatizes prison existence and Sands’ final days in a way that is purely experiential, even abstract, a succession of images full of both beauty and horror. Featuring an intense performance by Michael Fassbender, Hunger is an unflinching, transcendent depiction of what a human being is willing to endure to be heard.

Stills from Hunger

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 82 people found the following review helpful
In spite of the care and patient control with which this powerful film is shot and edited, "Hunger" is a deeply visceral and moving film, featuring a brilliant performance by Michael Fassbender in the lead role. There are scenes of violent and intense brutality here, but what is more powerful are the simple shots, of a face, of a look, of a gesture, washing hands, of sores on the back of a dying prisoner. While the film is based on real events, with deep political ramifications, the film itself is not so much political as a plea for humanity, that sides with the wounded sensitivity detected in the eyes of those guards who had been unable to desensitize themselves to the routinely brutal treatment they gave to the prisoners in an effort to break their spirits, as much as it sides with the humanity in the dehumanized IRA prisoners it depicts.

The film details the horrific prison conditions that motivated IRA leader Bobby Sands to begin a hunger strike in 1981, that led to his death and that of 8 other prisoners, but also eventually won some concessions for the IRA prisoners, that they had been unable to achieve in any other way. The film opens on one of the guards, washing his hands of the violence he'd inflicted on a prisoner but also unable to wash away his own sense of culpability and fear, and, later, unable to build a connection with the other guards who seem more immune to what they do.

It isn't until about a third of the way through the film that we are introduced to Bobby Sands, who is clearly something of a leader among the men, and it isn't until the final third of the film that Sands takes center stage, and embarks upon the hunger strike that gives the film its title.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and practically unmatchable February 3, 2010
This is hands down one of the best films of the past decade for me. "Visual Artist" Steve McQueen captures a sense of humanity in a way that few directors seem to be in touch with, telling a powerful story in a fashion that most are afraid to.

There is very little dialogue - and the dialogue that exists comes in spouts like an 18-minute long scene where the camera stays still and doesn't cut away at all. It could have easily been pretentious, but it is not in the least. McQueen has proven himself just by this one instance to be an extraordinary visionary that knows how to tell a story vividly without having to "tell" it. Did I mention the cinematography is gorgeous? Practically everything in "Hunger" is honed to perfection, and Michael Fassbinder's gruelingly tangible performance shows human deterioration at its most believable.

A masterpiece.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Based on the true story April 26, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Hunger is a film based on the true story of the 1981 hunger strike by Northern Irish prisoners seeking political prisoner status.

The film is made by British director, Steve McQueen (no relation to actor.) It is his first film.

The film can be difficult to watch due to graphic scenes of emaciation (which were real and done under the supervision of physicians), prison violence and depictions of the "dirty protest." The film includes archival audio of Margaret Thatcher speaking about the crisis.

The special features are very good too. There is a theatrical trailer, documentary on the film's production, Interviews with director McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender, and a 1981 BBC episode of Panorama, about the real life crisis. This BBC program is very good and includes interviews with figures from both sides of the debates related Troubles. Interview subjects include Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley.

This film while graphic is quite authentic and depicts an important part of British and Irish history.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning cinematography and performances March 9, 2011
By zow
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Hunger tackles a difficult and controversial subject. At times its not easy viewing but all the better a film for that. Best known as a photographer (until this) Steve McQueens debut feature is original, beautiful, sparse and the cast, art direction and cinematography are simply outstanding.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hunger Artist April 25, 2010
Hunger does what it says on the tin,it abstracts from a polemical,ideological situation about hunger strikes in the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland in 1981 and removes the heat of the local personalities and history of the time, and gives us a film based on the individual humanity and decisions of individuals based at a stressful time.We get the essence without the controversy,coming as it does 27 years after the events described.We also get a film maker who has come from making video art works into the strange world of film making with all its taboos and shibboleths.Bobby Sands is the central character but doesn't come in until 35 minutes into the film.So the performance does not shout:this is Bobby Sands,he arrives as an organic part of the central and last triptychs.The films tripartite structure moves through the physical-the sheer claustrophobic hell of physical beatings,to the ideas at the heart of the motivation behind the hunger strike in the immaculate boxing match dialogue,to the wasting away of a human body in its last defence against an all powerful state.

The film opens with taking us through the daily rituals of Officer Lohan(Graham) as he prepares himself for another day's work in prison.He is lonely,suffers stress,we see crumbs dropping as he eats his breakfast.We see him smoking outside and snowflakes falling on his bloodied knuckles.As he leaves and opens his front gate like a prison door,he searches under his car for any bomb devices.In the Maze we see the admission process of another prisoner Brian and his refusal to wear prison uniform,and his receipt of a blanket as he is lead to his cell.Inside his cell, walls smeared with faeces greet him and he is met by Davey.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 23 days ago by ccnyc1
5.0 out of 5 stars the best I have seen in a long long time
A phenomenal, intense, moving film, the best I have seen in a long long time.
Published 1 month ago by Paula Matei
5.0 out of 5 stars Must see.
Michael Fassbender is truely amazing, but I would expect nothing less. He lost 40 lbs for this movie and looks terrible. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ela
5.0 out of 5 stars Ford 55
Great Serious Film About People Trapped In A System That Attempts To Portray Itself To Be Just And Fair However This Film Exposes Another Side To The System That Just isn't Fair or... Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Ford
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
awesome movie
Published 2 months ago by donna miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Two websites to help you understand this incredible, painful movie
I recommend two websites: one to get the dialogue in the scene between the priest and Bobby Sands (I found the accents made it impossible for me to catch everything)... Read more
Published 2 months ago by sharon d
5.0 out of 5 stars True cinematic art
Amazing production of an intense time in history. Very very well presented. Beautiful directing. Amazing actors. I LOVE MICHAEL!
Published 2 months ago by Rodrigo
5.0 out of 5 stars An intense, painful masterpiece.
Finally watched "Hunger" tonight, a film about the hunger strike of IRA members in Northern Ireland's infamous Maze prison in 1981, in which Bobby Sands and 9 other hunger strikers... Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Sumners
3.0 out of 5 stars eh. It's well acted, but not completely well made
Well it was well acted, but the film was over bloated with story about 2 prisoners whom the film wound up being nothing about. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Olympic Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent movie, it's strong but portraits the Irish reality and how they were treated. I really recommended, I watched it twice.
Published 4 months ago by Maria Pelaez
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