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With 2008's Hunger, filmmaker Steve McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender delivered a visceral portrait of martyrdom; their follow-up makes that previous collaboration look like a preschool playdate. Fassbender deservedly won the Best Actor prize at the Venice Film Festival for his naked—literally, emotionally, you name it—portrayal of a Manhattan sex addict wrestling with personal demons and the disruptive reappearance of his self-destructive sister (Carey Mulligan). That extraordinary performance is only one facet of McQueen's brutal, blissful moral tale; it's also a stunning look at our fair city, desperately licking its wounds in between OD-ing on pleasuredome excess. All this, and the single most elegiac version of "New York, New York" ever sung. Don't miss.—DF

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New York Film Festival 2011

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