We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – Five Minutes of Heaven

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

 

Five Minutes of Heaven

(Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2009)

‘… features stunning performances by two of the finest actors ever to emerge from the island of Ireland—and thus by extension, the planet Earth …’

Niall Dunne

Can a BBC-produced film directed by a German fella named Hirschbiegel be considered ‘Irish’? For the sake of this installment of the ‘We Love…’ series, let’s just say it can. Best known for the brilliant and controversial 2004 film Downfall, which dramatized the last days Hitler in Berlin, Oliver Hirschbiegel certainly did his Irish homework for 2009’s Five Minutes of Heaven, an unsentimental examination of the difficulties of forgiveness centered on the murder of a Catholic man in Lurgan during the Troubles. The film has won multiple international prizes, including the World Cinema direction and screenwriting awards at Sundance. It also features stunning performances by two of the finest actors ever to emerge from the island of Ireland—and thus by extension, the planet Earth.

Hirschbiegel based his film on the real-life experiences of Alistair Little, a former UVF hitman, and Joe Griffin, who—as a young boy in 1975—witnessed the killing of his older brother Jim at the hands of Little. Both Little, who served 13 years for the murder and now works internationally as a conflict resolution specialist, and Griffin were interviewed at length for the film, but have never met. Five Minutes imagines a rendezvous between the two men more than 30 years after the murder, and the tension the film creates in the build up to this attempted rapprochement is what makes it so special.

The film opens with a reenactment of Jim Griffin’s murder by a teenage Little and his friends. The scenes are vivid and credible, accomplished using a cast of relative unknowns. Fast-forward to 2008, and middle-aged Joe Griffin and Alistair Little—played by the very well known James Nesbitt and Liam Neeson, respectively—have agreed to meet face-to-face for the first time on a TV show exploring the possibility of reconciliation.

Nesbitt portrays Joe as a chain-smoking bundle of nerves, permanently scarred by his brother’s death, resentful of Little’s reformation and his success as a world-travelled counselor to men of violence. He plays along with the TV producers and their Oprah-inspired desires to capture ‘the truth’ about his feelings on tape. But we find out quickly enough that he’s not there to provide Little with a final act in his ‘journey towards a magnificent redemption.’ Revenge, not reconciliation, will be Joe’s five minutes of heaven.

Neeson’s Little appears to be the polar opposite of Joe: all quiet and calm and self knowing. He speaks eloquently of his past crime, his shame, and his current mission to prevent other young men from falling in with gangs and terrorist groups. And somehow he knows that Joe’s not there to make peace, but he wants to see him nonetheless—we presume in order to help Joe move on.

“Time will heal they say… what everybody says about everything. The years just get heavier.Why don’t they tell you that? Nobody tells you that!”

And so the pieces are set in play, and the tension mounts as the meeting draws closer and closer. Thanks to Hirschbiegel’s expert documentary -style direction, Guy Hibbert’s intelligent (and at times very funny) script, and the commitment of Nesbitt and Neeson to their characters, that tension never lets up either—even when it’s revealed that Little is not a tower of strength at all but a sad, broken man, consumed by guilt, and Joe’s resolve to kill him starts to break.

There are no soap opera moments in Five Minutes. When the two finally meet—alone, far away from prying eyes—the confrontation is messy and nearly devoid of catharsis. In the end, it’s a glance of unconditional love from his daughter that helps Joe start the healing process. The final moment of resolution between Griffin and Little (a three-second mobile phone call) is about as un-Oprah as you can get.

Five Minutes is an impressive achievement and certainly one of my favorite Irish films in recent memory. By focusing on the deeply human tragedies and struggles of both protagonists, it avoids getting bogged down in partisanship or political name-calling—always a danger when tackling such complex subject matter. The film is not without its flaws. For instance, the bit about Joe’s mother placing the blame entirely on him for not doing anything to save Jim on that fateful night doesn’t ring true. It’s also a little implausible that no one in the TV crew notices Joe carrying around a machete in his underpants. Ultimately, however, the amazing performances of Nesbitt and Neeson help you to forget the imperfections and drive home the point that there are no easy fixes on the road to reconciliation.

Niall Dunne

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We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – The Field

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

 

The Field

(Jim Sheridan, 1990)

‘… Sheridan takes Ireland’s post-colonial past as its motif by means of its iconic terrain…’

Tess Motherway

In an interview with Jim Sheridan marking the twentieth anniversary of his famous adapation of John B. Keane’s 1966 play, he reflected on the modest success of the film in America stating ‘…America and elsewhere don’t get the concept of farming the land for somebody else… it is medieval to them, a foreign concept.’ (Moon, Aileen, ‘Jim Sheridan Talks About ‘The Field’’) Land ownership; that historic and most quintessential of Irish problems.

In The Field, Sheridan takes Ireland’s post-colonial past as its motif by means of its iconic terrain – drenched in the wilds of the west coast, the setting is at once romantic, a place of idyl, at times almost harking back to Ford’s The Quiet Man in sentimentality – a working place of purpose and sustainability. We are drawn into the landscape, invited to understand The Bull’s (Richard Harris) inertia regarding the land.

Conversely, it is also the setting of terrible violence, suspicion and anger, a lost place, steeped in the memory of Ireland’s past. For The Bull, the field acts as a double-edged sword, a provider and source of security, but also a tormentor – the divisive wedge between himself and his family and, ultimately, leading to his own mental decline. Sheridan utilises the landscape to translate these conflicts – the heavy stone, gushing river and violent storms – exaggerating the elements in order to optimise tension and climax. Purposefully devoid of time and place, Sheridan’s Ireland is the Ireland of nowhere and everywhere, and, unable to accept a changing Ireland, The Bull plays out these post-colonial demons, and the field provides the stage.

‘There’s another law stronger than the common law …. The law of the land.’

Today, Ireland continues its struggle with the land, but in a very different way. Irish cinema has always echoed this and, as with countless works of Irish art to date, land and landscape continue to be potent subject-matter. The Field is no exception and, twenty two years on, its impact is no less powerful.

Tess Motherway

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We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – The Butcher Boy

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

 

The Butcher Boy

(Neil Jordan, 1997)

‘… Funny, tragic and shocking, The Butcher Boy is both fascinating and disturbing for its unique depiction of psychosis…’

Emma O’Donoghue


In the early ’60s in a small town in Co. Monaghan, two best friends Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens) and Joe Purcell (Alan Boyle) spend their days playing Cowboys and Indians, reading comic books and playing by the town’s fountain and stream. To Francie, Joe is the only stability in a chaotic and cold world. Francie’s mother (Aisling O’Sullivan) suffers from bouts of serious mental illness and his father (Stephen Rea) is an emotionally and physically abusive alcoholic whose frequent outbursts of anger cause Francie to retreat into his own imagination – one which is rampant with aliens and communists and, in times of deep emotional distress, involves occasional visitations from a straight-talking Virgin Mary (Sinead O’Connor). Francie’s spiral into a world of sociopathic and violent behaviour is both aggravated and catalysed by a neighbour, Mrs Nugent (Fiona Shaw), who Francie believes is filled with ‘airs and graces’ and who frequently refers to him as a pig. Her overt snobbery towards him and his family enrages Francie, causing him to ransack her house and subsequently get sent to a home for boys run by ‘Fr Bubbles’ (Brendan Gleeson). It is on his return to his hometown and a very changed reality that Francie’s already fragile psyche is pushed to breaking point. The realisation that he has lost Joe as a true friend, and who worse still has befriended Mrs Nugent’s son Philip, is the final straw after a series of tragedies, pushing him to commit his final act of brutality.

The Butcher Boy

Feck off, you round tub of Guinness!

Based on the book of the same title by Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy was skilfully directed by Neil Jordan in 1997 and features a plethora of well-known and talented Irish actors. Although the movie explores solemn and tragic subjects – abuse, neglect, loneliness and mental illness – it is not entirely grim. Its upbeat soundtrack and lively performances provide a surreal quality that gives the movie a comic-book feel, making the horror slightly easier to swallow and giving us a sense of what it is like to live in Francie’s world. His increasing detachment from reality allows for a light comic relief as his inner monologue (an adult Francie played also by Stephen Rea) laughs, jokes and wilfully rejects reality, instead preferring to hunt monsters and aliens and fantasise about the bygone good times with Joe.

This is a phenomenal performance from Owens who we both pity and fear. He simultaneously embodies the playful recklessness of boyhood and the dark rage of a deeply troubled mind. The merit of the movie lies in blurring the lines between innocent childhood rebellion and dangerously psychotic behaviour. Funny, tragic and shocking, The Butcher Boy is both fascinating and disturbing for its unique depiction of psychosis, spreading from its quiet roots to its cacophonic fruition.

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We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – Adam & Paul

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

 

Adam & Paul

( Lenny Abrahamson, 2004)

‘… brought Irish cinema close to Beckettian brilliance…’

John Moran

Adam & Paul brought Irish cinema close to Beckettian brilliance. A day in the life of two drugs addicts, its bleak humour contrasts well with glossier impressions of Celtic Tiger Dublin.

The film opens superbly. Fragile flowers blow in the wind, perhaps a symbol of the nature of Adam and Paul’s condition. When we first see them, we laugh when Adam realizes that a stranger has glued him to the mattress. We see Paul’s tenderness, and stupidity, as he tries to help Adam. Director Lenny Abrahamson frames the characters on the edge of the city, recognizable as Dublin from the Poolbeg chimneys. In these brief scenes, Abrahamson’s economic direction establishes the film’s central relationship and their marginalized position.

Abrahamson frames Adam and Paul walking down a modern dual carriageway, Ireland’s boom time traffic moving quickly, the junkies walking slowly. Other façades of economic success, the Ulster Bank building and the James Joyce Bridge, figure in the backgrounds. They inhabit the same city as ordinary Dubliners, but everywhere they meet the same response: ‘Fuck off.’

Mark O’Halloran and Tom Murphy excel in their roles. Critics likened Adam and Paul to Laurel and Hardy and Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon. Paul’s chat in the café — ‘We’re havin’ loads of weather at the moment, aren’t we’ — echoes Ollie’s classic, ‘A lot of weather we’ve been having lately.’ Adam is the straight man of the double act. Like Estragon, Paul is physically smaller and preoccupied with his physical ailments: ‘I’m fucked,’ ‘I’m dying sick, like’, ‘Me fuckin’ hand and me fuckin’ leg and now me fuckin’ head.’ Their existence resembles that of Beckett’s pair. Paul asks Adam if they have a plan, the Bulgarian asks why they are here, and they refer to looking for the elusive ‘what’s-his-name’. But Adam and Paul have a purpose, and we know what drives them: they want a hit. The poignant last scene demonstrates Paul’s needs.

A Walk on the Wild Side 

The questions the film raises concern the apparent intolerance of other groups usually considered ‘marginalised’: single parents, the homeless, criminals, the working class. Friends may feel sympathy for Adam and Paul, offering cigarettes and alcohol, but, really, they want rid of them. They didn’t intend to inform them of a get-together to mark the passing of their friend Matthew, and Wayne later gives them some smokes before sending them on their way.

Adam and Paul are by no means pleasant. Adam tries to steal a handbag in a café. Paul attempts to break into a car stalled at lights. They try to rob a young man with Down syndrome and they contemplate stealing a TV from their old friend. Repeated failure, and Paul’s increasing physical discomfort, makes them somewhat sympathetic. O’Halloran’s script finds humour in a desperate situation. He also cleverly overcomes its episodic nature with the subplot involving Clank and delayed payoffs such as the Bulgarian jacket.

DOP James Mather’s work is excellent. Notable touches include the soft focus when Adam and Paul finally score, and shooting Janine almost in silhouette, as if she were a shadow of Adam and Paul’s past. Rennicks’ score is suitably understated, winding down to sombre solo piano towards the film’s end.

Adam & Paul achieves timelessness in taking heroin addicts as its central characters. Its understated treatment stands out among the glossy ‘cappuccino culture’ of other films. Problems Adam and Paul encountered would be just the same today. Economic fallout would make no difference to their plight. Just as the Celtic Tiger failed to raise Josie’s boat in Garage, Abrahamson’s second feature, current economic difficulties would make little difference to Adam and Paul.

John Moran

 

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We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – Once

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

 

Once

(John Carney, 2006)

‘… flows along beautifully with the supporting lyrical framework…’

Juls Nicholl-Stimpson

Once enthusiastically Irish, yet culturally diverse from start to finish; a lyrical rom-com far removed from Hollywood and its invariable conclusive endings. Once leaves us to make up our own minds about the futures of the two nameless central characters.

A naturalistic drama, it’s dry Irish sarcastic humour is slightly stereotypical, borderline cliché but well conveyed none the less; from the typical junkie to our nameless busker just looking to make a crust. The two central characters – known only as guy (Glen Hansard) and girl (Markéta Irglová), their fortuitous meeting is ordinary; set on busy Grafton Street, it remains unforced, un-manipulated, completely true to life. As she wanders by she stops to listen to him sing. Engaging ‘guy’ in conversation she finds out he works in a small hoover repair shop by day and asks him to have a look at hers. Sure enough the next day along she comes pulling the hoover comically behind her as if walking a dog! The film showcases Glen Hansards spectacular vocals as his character Guy journeys with the help of the unnamed Girl to assemble a demo tape for his move to London. Both out of long term relationships, both are searching for an answer relating to their respective ex’s becoming an outlet for each other and at times the attraction between them is tense.

Let’s make sweet music together

Though there are natural aspects to this film, the story is fictitious and there are the elements of the unnatural such as the unnamed girl singing whilst walking through the street donned in pyjamas and sheep slippers in the middle of the night untargeted by any of the kids on the inner city street. Also the scene in the bank manager’s office was completely unrealistic though humorous; I don’t think you would hear of any bank manager whipping out his guitar for a quick singsong mid-meeting just to show his enthusiasm or support for their recording venture.

Not only has John Carney’s Once been nominated and won an Oscar® but it has also won best foreign film at the Independent Spirit awards. Incredibly filmed and on a budget of €130,000, we have to love this musical comic love story which goes above and beyond to convey unspoken messages through the lyrics and fleeting looks. This is a perfect example of minimalistic dialogue; less is definitely more. The film overall, flows along beautifully with the supporting lyrical framework. For me this is an impressive example of Irish film, not your usual rom-com and definitely one to watch if you like musicals.

Juls Nicholl-Stimpson

 

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We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – The Guard

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

 

The Guard

(John Michael McDonagh, 2011)

‘… the movie correctly wraps itself around Gleeson, whose deadpan delivery of his subversive, and often shocking, sense of humour powers the film along…’

Rory Cashin

It is just me, or were most Irish movies completely devoid of fun? That’s not to say they were bad, but they weren’t exactly a joy to watch, since they were usually awash with the Troubles or dealing with some kind of abuse. We were the frontrunners when it came to making depression porn. But then the McDonagh brothers came along with their one-two punch of In Bruges (which, despite all the Irish-ness involved, can’t really be labelled an Irish film) and The Guard (which, thankfully, can).

Also delivering a killer one-two was Brendan Gleeson, who helped ground In Bruges, but is primarily the main reason The Guard soars so highly, with ‘high’ being the operative word, as we’re first introduced to his Sergeant Gerry Boyle taking acid which he has taken from the pocket of a very recently deceased car-crash victim. His racist, alcoholic, drug-taking, prostitute-loving, IRA-dealing character is so all consuming that it takes a repeat viewing to be reminded that the movie also features such usual heavyweights such as Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham and Mark Strong.

Now then, what have we here…

While the international cocaine smuggling ring plot seems like a take-it-or-leave-it afterthought, the movie correctly wraps itself around Gleeson, whose deadpan delivery of his subversive, and often shocking, sense of humour powers the film along, as his unwanted FBI partner Cheadle interrogates the locals, who respond with an Irish interpretation of what we think America thinks of Ireland, all impenetrable accents, unending rainfall and unquenchable thirsts for alcohol.

While it’s not all played for laughs (Boyle’s interactions with his dying mother are quietly heart-breaking), the film knows not to stay too serious for too long, and at 96 minutes, it’s not around long enough to outstay its welcome. Which is another nice change of pace for Irish film, or as the Sergeant would put it, ‘They take too long getting to the fecking point.’

Rory Cashin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRsMLuCP8a0

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We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – The Commitments

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

The Commitments

(Alan Parker, 1991)

‘… there’s treasure everywhere in this film…’

James Phelan 

For a few years after its’ original release, this film existed in the upper stratosphere of quotable comedic films within my circle of friends and family. It was recited, re-enacted and regurgitated in a style usually reserved for timeless masterpieces like Life of Brian, Withnail & I and Blazing Saddles.

This is heady company for any film, let alone an Irish one. Commercially, it was also the little Irish film that could. It could travel beyond our shores. It could open in America. It could spawn not one but two successful soundtrack albums.

And why did it succeed? Mainly because it has a quality that shamefully few Irish films possess or even aim for in the first place. In summary – it’s fun. A ton of fun. The kind of film that can have you rolling in the aisles one second and then dancing in them the next.

Jimmy Rabitte’s quest to assemble a soul band is a fundamentally doomed venture from the get-go. As the ramshackle group gradually gel, petty bickering, instantrivalries and competing egos are only amplified by the merest hint of success.

The humour is naturally mostly derived from Roddy Doyle’s source novel with its’ vivid approach to language – both colloquial and foul. However, it’s augmented by afresh kinetic cast recruited after an exhaustive talent trawl by director Alan Parker. He can be forgiven for laying on the torched cars and urban squalor a tad hard when his raw ensemble delivers the real heart and soul of the piece.

Betcha U2 are shittin’ themselves

Certainly, there’s the odd ropey moment as career musicians struggle to muster the requisite acting chops but even that only adds to the rough charm that permeates the piece. In retrospect, Parker’s dictum that the eventual band actually had to play the music was central to casting decisions. It still sounds both noble and naive a couple of decades on.

As Calvin and Hobbes would attest – there’s treasure everywhere in this film. Colm Meaney’s career crushing putdowns. Dublin elocution lessons. A priest interrupting a confession to correctly attribute ‘When a Man Loves A Woman’ to Percy Sledge. Andrea Corr before she was famous. A banner saying ‘Heroine Kills’. And film fans,here’s a golden nugget of trivia for you – a young Lance Daly (director of Kisses) crops up amid the hopefuls during the hilarious doorstep audition montage.

The really weird thing about watching The Commitments’now is that it is suddenly a period film. Not so much dated but capturing an era just before it disappeared. Real time-capsule stuff. Relics like video stores abound. And if you don’t get a wave of nostalgia when the price of a bag of chips gets mentioned, you probably weren’t alive in 1991.

As for the music, it propels the film completely in places powered by Andrew Strong’s blistering vocals. Full performances of soul standards start to dominate as the film goes on culminating with three songs in their entirety towards the end. It’s an amazing latitude given to the material by Parker that is almost unthinkable today. The closing sequence isn’t remotely indulgent but perhaps an admission that the band has no stories left to tell. The disintegration of the band is the antithesis of a Hollywood ending but all the more poignant and powerful for it.

My favourite musical moment in the film is just a snippet. The nascent band is receiving yet another pep talk from Jimmy as they travel on the DART. Lead by the sax player Dean, they launch into an acapella version of ‘Destination Anywhere’. Of course, the moment is as consciously and artfully constructed as any other but it feels joyfully spontaneous. And that’s what makes it magic.

I’ve often looked around a DART carriage and pondered trying to cajole a bunch of complete strangers into a chorus of the same song. However, in real life that kind of behaviour can get you committed.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MN02oTCOT8

 

 

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We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – Hunger

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…


We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

 

Hunger

(Steve McQueen, 2008)

‘… without doubt the finest art film this island has ever produced…’

David Neary

Irish history is bursting with stories to be told, but a lack of imagination and, more crucially, funding, has always held our filmmakers back, leaving Ireland to play a surrogate landscape for the histories of Britain. Ireland’s one proper historical epic, Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins, suffered from the same Civil War politics that still dampen discourse to this day. In order to make a truly great film about Irish politics, it was always going to take a filmmaker divorced from that world.

Experimental London artist Steve McQueen had made several short art films, projected in such esteemed spaces as the Tate Modern and MoMA, before his first feature film Hunger was released in 2008. A Film4 production co-financed with Irish and Northern Irish money, Hunger was written by Enda Walsh, the man behind Disco Pigs. With Walsh’s powerful, balanced screenplay and McQueen’s sensational, bold filmmaking, Hunger is without doubt the finest art film this island has ever produced.

More of an experiment with the possibilities of the camera than a political eulogy, McQueen’s film is a biopic-of-sorts of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, during his final months in the Maze Prison in 1980/81. While not arguing for or against the politics of the IRA or the British role in Northern Ireland, Hunger instead looks at what men will do for a cause they believe; to themselves and to others.

The film is slow, contemplative and utterly intense. From the beautiful yet ghastly art of a faeces-smeared prison wall and the gradual wasting away of Sands’s body, to the fumbled lighting of a cigarette by bloodied hands and the slow, haunting, hypnotic washing of a prison floor, Hunger is a feast for the eyes and the mind from start to finish.

I am standing on the threshold of another trembling world

In a revelatory, career-launching performance, Michael Fassbender plays Sands with an unexpected intensity the actor has since become a worldwide sensation for, even unleashing his trademark grin as the weakened Sands begins to feel a sense of victory in his draining life. Throwing a mirror up to Sands, Stuart Graham portrays prison officer Raymond Lohan as a similarly weakened shell of a man, disillusioned with the horrors he has witnessed and must enforce.

Since its release, Hunger has become most famous for its exhausting single-take sequence in which Sands debates his fate and the morality of his actions with Liam Cunningham’s priest, but the shot that sticks with you comes in a deathbed flashback as Sands recalls a life-altering childhood trip, and the camera is blinded by a beam of sunlight blasting through a bus window.

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