266 Great Directors: Steve McQueen

“You have to create an environment where they feel safe and then make them into spheres, so however they roll, whatever direction they go in, is right.”


What Got This Director Here?
: All three of his films are acclaimed.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Astounding masterpiece 12 Years a Slave.

What Did I Watch: Hunger and Shame.

Where Does He Fit: I watched Shame first on a whim and, well, sophomore slump alert. Not sure why this became a bit more of a rallying point than Hunger, as McQueen’s technical talents and Fassbender/Mulligan giving strong performances feel very empty and pointless. The score is overdone, the shots are pretty but empty, and details feel very rough around the edges. Why does Brandon have a cartoon playing and why is there a tear during the New York performance in the bar? Yes, okay, we get that the siblings are incestuous, but that is not an inherently thrilling idea when they’re essentially people in a void. Loved the date scene, though.

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Hunger is deeply, furiously resonant in the context of the rise of fascism that is happening right at this moment. This is a guide to getting through the Trump Administration, if you can handle it-and I don’t think that I could, but I hope someone else will do it for me, making me one of the people who stood by and watched as Bobby Sands drowned that foal. A moodpiece that sticks like feces to the walls, like blood to a knuckle. Amazed that this director went on to become such a hit with the Academy, as this has exactly one scene that could possibly earn it prestige, and it’s a very long take of people having a complicated political discussion. The system and the body both fail, but the latter is deliberate.

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Most Valuable Asset: Textures.
Most Excited For: Widows…which isn’t out yet. Damnit.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Definitely on the 21st Century list. The overall list…hopefully soon!

Coming Up Next: Fantasist Guillermo Del Toro.

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