Sunday, 1 November 2009

Hunger, Steve McQueen, UK 2008

Last night, I finally got the chance to catch the much hailed Hunger, by Steve McQueen. I apologise - or no, actually, I don't apologise for the hyperbole!, because McQueen’s film - his first - is totally deserving of it as his is visually the most astounding, most innovative, most uncompromising film I've seen in quite some time. It is almost like he has reinvented the language of film. With its striking, daring imagery, Hunger feels like a revival of German Expressionism - or rather like its modern successor, as it were. Everything in the film - emotions, narrative, the protagonist’s state of mind - has its visual equivalent on-screen, transformed into sometimes shockingly painful images that stay with you long after the film has come to its harrowing end.

British-German actor Michael Fassbender who plays the lead in Steve McQueen's Hunger (UK 2008)

But having said that, the film's screenplay is equally brilliant, its dialogues - sparse, well placed - are strong and stripped of any platitudes and commonplaces. McQueen uses words only where necessary and makes full use of film as a medium.
Most importantly, though, in spite of the film's sordid subject-matter, McQueen totally avoids sentimentality. This is one of the reasons why, in certain places, Hunger almost seems like a documentary, making the - never gratuitous - violence all the more real and painful to watch.

Definitely a small masterpiece and for sure a director to be reckoned with!

Here's the film's trailer: