Tuesday, 11 November 2008
This film relates action taken in 1981 by IRA prisoners in the Maze Prison in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to be recognised as political, rather than criminal, prisoners. Led by Bobby Sands, the prisoners refuse to wear prison uniform nor wash themselves and eventually undertake a hunger strike leading to the deaths of Sands and nine others.
It is a very striking film. Apart from a single 20 minutes scene between Sands and a priest, the remainder of the film is largely without dialogue. Director Steve McQueen unleashes extraordinary images powerfully conveying the abuse and the lack of dignity that befalls not just the prisoners but their captors as well.
Michael Fassbender plays Sands in a riveting performance. His conversation scene with Liam Cunningham's priest where we learn just what made Sands the man that he became is superb.
A difficult but memorable film.