This film, directed by Steve McQueen, took me by total surprise. I found it disturbing and compelling in equal measure. There is little meaningful dialogue until Bobby and a Priest, who in my mind represented many of the different Catholic clergy that happened to visit Bobby during the protest, had a lengthy debate about what Bobby was about to do. The rights and wrongs and even the morality which Bobby rightly scoffed.

The debate was a relief from the disturbing aspects of the film prior to and after the discussion and gave some insight into what drives a man to starve himself to death as a last recourse to protest. The debate itself was an interesting one and well worth viewing the film for it alone. We are left in no doubt that Bobby intended to see his fast to the ultimate end in the face of British intransigence.

The film steers clear of political events going on outside the H-Blocks and even the negotiations going on in the camp. Aside from subtle hints at milestones in the protest. I had to watch it twice in case I missed any.

It leaves you in a state of shock at the shear brutality of the regime the blanketmen had to endure and believe me, it wasn’t poetic licence.  It also shows the powder keg atmosphere in the Blocks and the pressure some of the staff were under, though it also shows the the inhumanity some men are capable of under that kind of pressure and indeed how some can take great delight in inflicting pain and suffering on their fellow human beings, without any kind of presssure at all.

The acting was excellent and all in all, a briliantly made film and a must see. Even for the faint hearted.