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Hunger is a 2008 Irish-British historical drama movie, the first to be directed by artist Steve McQueen and the first of several collaborations between McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender.

It revolves around the Maze Prison during The Troubles, and the various ways they protest to regain their political status (revoked by the British government in 1976), starting with "no-wash" protests and ending in a hunger strike — as led by Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands (Fassbender).

Hunger premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, winning the Caméra d'Or award (an honor for first-time filmmakers) as well as several more awards throughout the 2008-2009 European circuit.

Not to be confused with the [PROTOTYPE] fanfic of the same name, or with the 1974 animated short Hunger, or with the 1983 movie The Hunger.

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Tropes used in Hunger include:

  • Animal Motifs: The image of black birds is used throughout the film to symbolize Bobby's soul leaving his body as a result of his strike.
    • As he convulses in his bed, the image flashes momentarily several times.
    • Immediately after he dies, we see birds flying away into the sky.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Longtime prisoner Gerry Campbell attempts to converse with his new cellmate Davey Gillen in Irish, but it becomes quickly apparent that Gillen has no knowledge of the language.
  • Body Horror: Betw of Bobby's hunger strike is the formation of multiple gaping sores on his back.
  • Dies Wide Open: Bobby in the end.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The prisoners' puddles of urine all flow into one continuous stream on the floor of their cellblock, which later on in the film is swept away by a prison guard.
  • Excrement Statement: The purpose of the "dirty protests", where the prisoners smear their feces all over the walls of their cells and urinate out into the hallway.
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  • Fan Disservice: Continuous male Full Frontal Nudity would be appealing to some, except in this case the males are unwashed, unnaturally thin, and often abused by prison officers.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The American DVD box tells you that it involves "[Bobby] Sands' last days." Needless to say, he dies in the end.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Long shots of walls, corridors, hands, etc. being washed.
  • Imagine Spot: Just before Bobby dies, he vividly experiences a memory of himself jogging in the woods as a child. He also imagines being visited by his child self several times.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted; prison officer Raymond hurts his hand pretty badly after punching the wall by accident.
  • Mercy Kill: Bobby tells the story of an injured foal that he and his friends found at a young age. And that he took the initiative to end its suffering, knowing that it was the right thing to do.
  • Mood Whiplash: At multiple points, the tone of a scene shifts dramatically at an instant.
    • Bobby, Davey and Gerry are all sitting idly in their rooms...before Bobby begins screaming, shouting, and trashing his room, inciting Davey and Gerry to do the same.
    • Prison officer Raymond Lohan is visiting his catatonic mother in her nursing home...before an IRA assassin calmly walks in and puts a bullet in his head.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: During the riot squad scene, the focus subtly shifts to one riot officer who seems more timid than the rest; when he gets headbutted by a prisoner, he immediately lashes out, beating him viciously with his nightstick. We then see him isolated outside of the room, breaking down in tears, horrified at his actions.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Some of the prisoners get brutally beaten by a collection of riot officers.
  • The Oner: Several count as Leave the Camera Running. Particularly notable is a scene where Bobby Sands and his priest discuss the upcoming hunger strike; it goes for 17 and a half minutes, a record length.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Almost. Bobby Sands dies, 9 more men die after him, and their goal (the status of political prisoner) is never completely accomplished. They do, however, get equivalent rights granted to the prisoners.
  • Silence Is Golden: Much of the film goes by with little to no dialogue.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Bobby's introductory scene shows him getting one while having his head pinned to a seat, ridding him of the hair he'd grown out during the dirty protest.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The movie never stops to explain why the prisoners refuse to wash, wear blankets, etc. Heck, even what Irish Republicanism is is barely mentioned in the film.
    • As the film is British, most of its viewers would be aware of Northern Ireland's political history and the wash protests and hunger strikes.

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