The film portrays the body as the last resource for protest with an almost unbearable intensity. The last part of the film is entirely devoted to Bobby Sands hunger strike, of which he died after 66 days. The more his body strength ceases, the more those sunken eyes and haggard face become a powerful tool for resistance against the withdrawal of Special Category Status. The captured violence and power to which Bobby Sands subjects himself in his hunger strike commands an intense commitment by the viewer that is exposed towards a disconcerting resonance within in an extreme economy of means. The body resists its natural desires and therefore the hunger strike embodies a resistance against the current situation as a moment of endurance. A hunger strike is in fact a reverted form of violence, because the violation is solely turned against oneself, or at least one is deeply invested in the act of violence, (i.e. Kamikaze suicide attacks). As Hannah Arendt pointed out, “violence is distinguished by its instrumental character1
”. In the case of Bobby Sands it is a means not only to destroy the power of the English governmentality but also a form of resistance that, in turn, led the attention onto the violence with which they were treated. Although Hunger
may not clearly articulate a political and moral positioning or focus on ideology or public policy, the film maps out a relationship between power, violence and resistance in which the audience as the observer becomes an extension of the camera. What the film shows in its carefully composed consecutiveness of scenes are the relationships between the prison officers and the imprisoned, the inside and outside of the Maze with its internal and external circuits of communication and information. These relationships follow a structure that is one of dependency, of not only physical but also political and social affiliation that can be instrumentalised. Through the imagery of the film we observe not only the violence with which the prison officers treated the convicted but also how outside of the Maze the IRA resorted to violence against the British. What both have in common was the aim to destroy the power of the other. "Violence," Arendt writes, "can always destroy power. (…) What never can grow out of it is power.” The ambiguity of the film of not clearly articulating a political or moral positioning not at all diminishes its relevance, as some reviews of the film pointed towards it as not being political enough. What the film captures in moments when the voice of Margaret Thatcher emphatically denies the validity of the republican’s cause or status, are the forces of political system that still today try to claim their issues as present and pressing. McQueen counteracts those scenes with silent single shots of Bobby Sands fragile body awaiting its death at the time when he was elected as a representative of the republicans for the British Parliament in 1981. The relationship between power, violence and resistance is one of strategic actions and counteractions.
Through the evoked highly emotional atmosphere of the film by means of the meticulous construction of consecutive scenes, McQueen not only exposes the viewer to an economy of means but actually makes a strong political claim. The composition of the film not only reveals systems of power and violence as a means of resistance but goes further and hands over the judgement to the viewer, as the audience becomes the target of McQueens atmospheric observations, not Bobby Sands or the prison. This is in itself a highly political claim as McQueen pointed out in a recent interview: “It’s not about left and right, or right and wrong. It’s more about you and me.” Hunger
is an urgent reminder of the function and dysfunctions of this period in British and Irish history, questioning weather the relationships between power, violence and resistance that succumbed this situation wouldn’t still be in place on other levels, with other players in the game, but following the same hidden agendas.
 Hannah Arendt (1970): On Violence. New York: Harvest. p. 46