Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Consider This: Michael Fassbender in "Hunger"

IFC is opening Steve McQueen's hard hitting Hunger this Friday for an exclusive, one week only Academy qualifying run. But the official release date isn't until March of next year.

Michael Fassbinder in a scene from IFC's Hunger (3/9/09)

Now usually this is the Academy equivalent of suicide, squeezing a small film in at the last minute does it no favors. It will go un-nominated and overlooked, and cause confusion as to what year to truly identify it with. But I want to start some buzz anyway.

Not that I have that much influence on things, but Michael Fassbender's performance is nothing short of extraordinary. He does so much with so little. His character doesn't appear until halfway through the film, but he quickly becomes its core, and the focus of its title. I have never seen the wasting away of another human being on screen so shockingly potent and believable. It's absolutely stunning work, but it has zero buzz. Which means it pretty much has zero chance, not against the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Mickey Rourke, and Sean Penn. IFC hasn't even mounted an FYC campaign for it yet.

But he deserves it. Boy does he ever. It's a wrenching film, and probably too off-putting for the Academy, which also hurts his chances. It's a tough sit - a rough, graphic, take no prisoners look at the lives of IRA prisoners in Britain during the 1980s, who stage a hunger strike to gain political recognition.

It's an excellent film, a stunning debut by first time director Steve McQueen, who has coaxed a performance out of Fassbender that is utterly compelling and deserving of far more awards attention than he is getting.

5 comments:

nick plowman said...

YES YES YES.

You agree with me!! It is amazing and Fassbinder is WOW, as is the film's direction, and it deserves Oscar love, and I want it to, but will it get it? Probably not :(

We'll see, but I am rooting for it.

Matthew Lucas said...

Yay! I'm so glad someone agrees with me! And who better? :-)

Fassbinder blew me away, I wish we were hearing more about him.

Nick Plowman said...

How are we NOT hearing more about him? It's not right. I mean, he was great. I don't get it. Usually people eat the whole losing tons of weight (and so on) right up. Hm.

Matthew Lucas said...

One week Academy runs are like a kiss of death. I don't know what good studios think it does to sneak their films in under the wire. Just release them and get their names out there! There's no use to wait until March.

Simone said...

I agree with you Matthew, and Nick for that matter. I don't know if the screening in LA starting today for a week is a 'kiss of death', but at the least, it will be seen by those who really matter and becaue Michael is short of absolutely brilliant in this role, I hope he gets a nomination out of this.

IFC dropped the ball on this big time, what a bunch of bozos.