Experimental filmmaker Steve McQueen brings his museum-bred style to a feature-length narrative with stunning results. Focusing on protests by Irish Republican Army prisoners, the film employs long stretches of silence, perfectly composed shots and lots of still camera to create scenes that are simultaneously brutal, depressing and beautiful. While there are many legitimate ways to tell a story like this, by eschewing exposition and standard narrative, McQueen captures the degradation and malaise of the prison far better than a straightforward approach ever could. Of course, this is only possible because of his astute visual sensibility; each shot is composed like a Renaissance painting, with the stationary camera allowing tiny bits of action to become thematically overwhelming. This is definitely worth seeing for anyone who wants to know what else film can do, and to see it done to near perfection.