Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Liam McMahon, Stuart Graham
The story – both of the events that inspired the film and the film itself – is by now well known, written about and discussed long before its arrival on our screens.
All of which leaves audiences with opinions well formed before they get near a cinema.
It is a harrowing story, to be sure, though one not without controversy: it is the story of the 66 days IRA man Bobby Sands, and others, spent on hunger strike in the Maze in l981. The protesters claimed they were PoWs rather than criminals.
Leaving aside the politics of the story the film is a masterpiece, with several intriguing technical innovations, not least the 15-minute one-shot dialogue between Sands (Fassbender, turning in an outstanding performance that certainly deserves Academy Award recognition) and a Priest (Cunningham).
That alone makes the film an outstanding achievement, and all the more so since director McQueen was making his debut.
His film, with a minimum of dialogue, won the Palm D’Or at the Cannes Festival and has garnered much praise around the world.
Since the story is so well known the film does not, cannot, bring us anything new to ponder, other than the awful times and inhuman cruelties suffered – by both sides – during the Troubles … a film, therefore, well worth making and watching.
Star Rating: 4/5