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Original title
Running time
92 min.
Ireland Ireland
Steve McQueen, Enda Walsh
Leo Abrahams, David Holmes
Sean Bobbitt
, , , , , , , ,
Co-production Ireland-United Kingdom; Blast! Films / Film4 Productions / Film4 Productions
Drama | Biography. Prison Drama. IRA. 1980s
Synopsis / Plot
Raymond Lohan wearily follows his normal routine: an ordinary man doing the job of a prison officer in the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, 1981. Working within one of the infamous H-Blocks, where republican prisoners are on the Blanket and No-Wash protest, is a living hell for both prisoner and prison officer. A young, new prisoner Davey Gillen is brought into this environment for the first time. Although terrified, Davey resolutely refuses to wear the prison uniform - he is no common criminal. So joining the Blanket protest, he shares a filthy cell with another ‘non-conforming’ republican prisoner Gerry Campbell. Gerry, hardened to the horrific realities of Maze life, guides Davey through the daily routine, he trains him how to smuggle items and exchange ‘comms’ (communications) with the outside world, passing them on to their H-Block leader Bobby Sands at Sunday Mass.

The prisoners are persuaded to take up the prison regime’s offer of civilian clothes – a potential breakthrough in their struggle to regain political status – only for them to be mocked by the ‘clown clothes’ handed out. A riot erupts. In the mayhem, the prisoners destroy the clean cells they’ve been moved to. The riot is violently crushed with beatings and body searches. The violence spreads beyond the Maze; no prison officer is safe and Raymond is shot dead. Bobby Sands meets Father Dominic Moran. Once the initial humorous banter is out the way, Bobby reveals that he is going to lead a new Hunger Strike to protest for special category status for republican prisoners.
2008: Cannes Film Festival: Camera d'Or (Best First Film)
2008: BAFTA Awards: Best Debut (McQueen). Nominated for Best British Film
2008: Los Angeles Film Critics Association: New Generation Award
2008: Chicago Film Critics Association: Nominated for Most Promising Filmmaker
2009: Film Critics Circle of New York: Best First Film
2008: Chicago Film Festival: Gold Hugo - Best Movie & Silver Hugo - Best Actor (Fassbender)
2008: Independent Spirit Awards: Nominated for Best Foreign Film
2008: British Independent Film Awards (BIFA): Best Actor (Fassbender) & New Director
2009: BAFICI: Official Selection
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