Artist Steve McQueen couldn't have picked a more controversial subject matter for his first directorial offering. Under normal film-making rules, the story of Bobby Sands and the H-Block hunger strikes is virtually impossible to recount without displaying at least a little bias - a dangerous thing when dealing with what is still a very touchy topic. McQueen's film is sparse, stripped of dialogue for the most part - one long take of a riveting conversation between Sands and a priest being the notable, startling exception. He keeps the events mostly confined within the prison walls, avoids all moments of sentimentality and deals unflinchingly with the harsh details of life for inmates and guards alike; Michael Fassbender's drastic weight loss for his role as Sands is no stunt diet turn, he's pretty tough to look at in his final scenes.

McQueen is not against including shots that may err on the side of visual poetry, such as snowflakes melting on the bruised knuckles of one particularly brutal officer, even the smeared excrement on the walls takes on a bizarre beauty. But he's resolute in his commitment to presenting the story's martyrdom aspects and inherent terrorist iconography as anything but glorious or glamorous. The prison was hell for all those within. The hunger strikers erode their bodies, the guards erode their souls; there's no real victory for either side. The characters have firm beliefs but the movie is deliberately ambiguous. If the film has any message, it's on a personal level rather than a political one.

ambiguous - niejasny

bias - odchylenie, uprzedzenie

bizarre - dziwaczny

commitment - oddanie, zaangażowanie

confined - zamknięty

display - okazywać, przedstawiać, manifestować

erode - niszczyć, powodować erozję

err - mylić się, błądzić

glamorous - wspaniały, efektowny

inherent - wrodzony, nieodłączny

inmate - współwięzień

knuckles - knykcie

martyrdom - męczeństwo

recount - relacjonować

resolute - stanowczy, śmiały, zdecydowany

riveting - pasjonujący, intrygujący

sparse - skąpy, oszczędny

startling - zadziwiający, zdumiewający

stripped of - odarty z, pozbawiony (czegoś)

stunt - kaskaderski, popisowy

touchy - drażliwy

unflinchingly - niezachwianie, niezmiennie

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