Movie: Hunger (2008)
Director: Steve McQueen
Stars: Raymond Lohan, Michael Fassbender, Brian Milligan

Visual artist Steve McQueen's first narrative feature is a grueling exercise in limitations. How much can the human body take when put under the pressure of confinement? How much can the viewer take?

To tell the story of Bobby Sands, an IRA leader who starved himself to death while imprisoned as an act of protest against the British government in 1981, McQueen's camera is an unflinching eye inside the prison.

One of the film's most breathtaking scenes comes in a long tracking shot as prisoners are dragged from their cells, forced down a gauntlet of riot police with batons, and forcibly inspected above a mirror. The mirror has been placed on the ground and the prisoners hoisted above it so that the guards can check to see if any are stowing contraband in their rectums. You'd look away if it wasn't for the technical brilliance. —RS