The Pain Of The Long Distance Runner

I just can't stop thinking about it.

Steve McQueen's Hunger is the best movie of the year and Michael Fassbender's performance as Bobby Sands is extraordinary. Fassbender reminds us that acting is a performance in which the body and its movements can reveal the heart and spirit of a character in a language devoid of words (minus the 24 minute "Last Super"-esque conversation, 17 of those 24 shot as a single take!). The actor's bodies and the months of starvation, denial and ability to suppress pain and discomfort until the very end, until running across the finish line, in my mind is a performance in itself. I felt as though Fassbender himself was near death as he lay in that bed. And Jesus fucking Christ, the scene in which the guard walks down the hall splashing bleach on the piss puddles, walks back, then comes down the hall again mopping the piss and bleach back into the cells until the camera itself can no longer endure watching any longer and it falls to the black floor and proceeds down the hall, the screen turns black with bursts of light from the reflection of the lights on the ceiling in the remains of the piss puddles, symbolizing the flickering and on the brink of death Irish prisoners in the British Maze prison during a 1981 hunger strike. This scene with obvious Kubrick, Truffaut and Sam Fuller influences is one of the most beautiful and painful scenes I have ever witnessed. Hunger is performance art and a painting that Steve McQueen kissed and molded into one of the most powerful films of the decade. And I will let someone else talk about the significance of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay....