British artist-turned-director Steve McQueen’s “Hunger” — opening Friday — is the latest near-masterpiece to be available simultaneously in theaters and video-on-demand from IFC Films. Let’s hope the film receives the same sort of attention from the public as it has from the critics since its Cannes premiere last year. For the Utne Reader, I wrote a capsule review, which might not deserve mentioning on the blog here except for the fact that the more attention this powerful film receives all the better.
Here’s the gist: “British director Steve McQueen’s chilling, superbly crafted vision of the events leading up to [IRA leader Bobby] Sands’ death doesn’t conform to predicable patterns of political filmmaking. The movie unfolds in distinct, commanding vignettes ranging from the elegiac (a prisoner’s hand caresses a bee) to the heart-thumpingly brutal (when riot police crack down on the inmates). ‘Hunger’ does not simply chronicle a historic act of protest; it renders it timeless and transcendent.”
For more on the film and McQueen, check out this solid piece written by Sean O’Hagan last fall for The Guardian.