Hunger (2009)



Critic Consensus: Unflinching, uncompromising, vivid and vital, Steve McQueen's challenging debut is not for the faint hearted, but it's still a richly rewarding retelling of troubled times.

Movie Info

The final months of Bobby Sands, the Irish Republican Army activist who protested his treatment at the hands of British prison guards with a hunger strike, are chronicled in this historical drama, the first feature film from artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen. Davey Gillen (Brian Milligan) is an IRA volunteer who is sentenced to Belfast's infamous Maze prison, where he shares a cell with fellow IRA member Gerry Campbell (Liam McMahon). Like most of the IRA volunteers behind bars, Gillen and … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Special Interest
Directed By: ,
Written By: Steve McQueen (III), Enda Walsh, Steve McQueen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 16, 2010
IFC Films - Official Site


as Bobby Sands

as Father Moran

as Ray Lohan

as Ray's Mother

as Prison Guard

as Gerry's Girlfriend

as Mrs. Lohan

as The Governor

as William
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Hunger

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Hunger

All Critics (119) | Top Critics (32)

Midway through the movie there's an epic 24-minute the claustrophobic cell block the protesters have already internalized their cause so deeply that the world of words seems distant and inconsequential.

Full Review… | April 17, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's a strength of this carefully composed, almost obsessively controlled picture that it has no interest in the conventional biographical focus on a subject.

Full Review… | April 17, 2009
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Hunger is daunting and powerful work.

Full Review… | April 16, 2009
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

McQueen thus succeeds in manufacturing a palpable intensity (some of it very difficult to watch), but retreats into individual subjectivity when it might do better to open out into the larger political arena.

Full Review… | August 2, 2015
Stop Smiling

In such extreme circumstances, the human body may be the last desperate frontier of protest. Hunger makes this all too clear.

Full Review… | June 1, 2015

In the desolate surrounds of a prison environment that affronts humanity McQueen finds the redemptive struggles, and unrelenting spirit in the feces smeared walls of a British prison.

Full Review… | January 21, 2013
2UE That Movie Show

Audience Reviews for Hunger


Steve McQueen's debut is gripping and intense, and he displays a lot of control for a first film, creating some amazing long takes. A disturbing story showing the impact of a hunger strike on the human body, though I don't like how the plot is suddenly deviated from Davey Gillen to Bobby Sands.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

I have never seen such a brutal, gut-wrenching prison film in my life! Complex emotionally and philosophically, the tensions never let up. Fassbender's commitment to the role is nothing short of astounding. The inhumanity and control of McQueen's first film towers above that of even his Oscar award winning "12 Years A Slave". If you're looking for raw, honest but brutal reality, this is a film for you.

Christian C

Super Reviewer


To me, the whole film boils down to the long conversation, between Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) and Father Moran (Liam Cunningham), a scene that takes up about a quarter of the movie but keeps you riveted throughout. Much uglier depiction of the prison conditions for Irish Republicans than, say, In the Name of the Father, and in my opinion, a much less sympathetic film, too - McQueen's work does a lot more documenting than inspiring and the work hits pretty hard, in all.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Hunger Quotes

– Submitted by Panta O (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Claudia F (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Hunger on our Movie forum!