Based on the true story of Bobby Sands, an IRA leader, who organized a hunger strike in prison in 1981. The hunger strike was enacted after a failed attempt to make their point through other means. Before the hunger strike, prisoners refused to wear prison issued clothes because they wanted to be recognized as political prisoners and not standard criminals. They also refused to bathe, poured their urine under their doors into the hallway where guards walked, and wiped their feces on the walls.
Pretty vile stuff but visually this film is stunningly beautiful. And stunningly scary at times as well. The forced bathings, the beatings ... the violence is astounding.
The guards also had to worry about being killed by IRA operatives on the outside. Directer Steve McQueen does an expert job showing one guard's experience of fearing assassination on the outside as he leaves for work. We also get to see how brutal he is while in the prison. The scene of him smoking a cigarette in the light snowfall right after beating the hell out of a prisoner in an attempt to bathe him is definitely one of the more memorable scenes of the year for me.
The first half documents the failed initial attempts to protest as well as showing how prisoners passed information to people on the outside. The second half focuses on Sands as he starves himself. The two halves are broken up by a fascinating discussion between Sands and an Irish priest who disagrees with what Sands is about to do. Most of the argument is filmed in one extremely long take - must have been at least 10 minutes. But it works. It all works. This movie isn't for everyone but those with the patience for this kind of movie will be rewarded.
Directed by Steve McQueen
2008, Year of U.S. Release: 2009
Mets 11 Padres 2
4 hours ago