Review: Hunger (2009)

For your art-house pleasure and discomfort, here's one of the most talked-about film-festival triumphs of 2008, a disturbingly avid re-creation of the last six weeks in the life and slow, self-imposed wasting of Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands (Fassbender), who died in a Belfast prison in 1981 in an act of political protest. Christian martyrdom is much on the mind of British artist and Hunger's filmmaker Steve McQueen as he considers life (and the brutal treatment of prisoners); death (faced in a long, riveting confessional discussion between Sands and his priest); and, I suppose, life everlasting, glimpsed by Sands on his deathbed. A-

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