One doubts that any feature film could more maturely, passionately, or elegantly evoke the madness and confusion at the heart of the early '80s IRA conflict than Irish director Steve McQueen's harrowing docudrama Hunger
. The film unfurls in 1981, around the tail end of the IRA prisoners' "no wash" strike against the Brits, and dramatizes the martyrdom of Irishman Bobby Sands, champion of a hunger strike within a penitentiary -- and a man who led at least nine of his fellow inmates to the grave in pursuit of unascertained political status. Yet the Sands tale only occupies the second half of the picture. Long before we can identify Sands or follow his crusade, M...