Streaming ’71 On Demand
IMDB Rating : 7.3
IMDB Votes : 11,184
User Reviews : 39
Movie Rated : R
Date Released : 10 October 2014
Run Time : 99 min
Movie Genre : Action, Drama, Thriller
Movie Director : Yann Demange
Movie Writer : Gregory Burke
Movie Stars : Jack O’Connell, Sam Reid, Sean Harris, Paul Popplewell
’71 A young British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a terrifying riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Unable to tell friend from foe, the raw recruit must survive the night alone and find his way to safety through a disorienting, alien and deadly landscape.
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Review ’71 :
Escape from N.I.
Jack O'Connell plays Gary Hook, a private in the British Army sent to Belfast, who finds himself separated from his men during a raid that turns into a riot. His mission thereon is to survive the night and get back to his barracks. This is the entire plot or perhaps should have been. Events are complicated by Captain Sandy Browning's (Sean Harris) undercover operatives, whose methods are, shall we say, 'questionable' and whose allegiances are 'fluid'. I wonder about the casting of the ever-excellent Harris in a role that seems to demand brawny over creepy, but it shouldn't detract from what is a very accomplished directorial debut from Yann Demange.
Gregory Burke's script stripped down to the point of sparseness. There's a moment when a sympathetic doctor explains the entire structure of the military hierarchy through a handful of choice words, three of which are the same and begin with "C". The screenplay is merely a vehicle for the experience of one soldier one pawn as he witnesses someone else's war from the inside. It's an intense experience; a brisk exercise in tension and spasms of violence, rather than out-and-out action. Mirroring the horrifying situation in Northern Ireland at the time, there's a sense that anyone can die, any time, in the blink of an eye. The evocation of the period is impressive, without resorting to TV clips and newsreels; instead, it's all crap cars, crapper clothes, and mum-hair.
As high concept thrillers go, there are no new ideas as such, simply a new setting in which to deposit those old ideas. Permeating is an air of John Carpenter's Escape from New York and I would have preferred more Carpenter luridness and less Greengrass realism as well as hints of Children of Men, particularly in one single-take sequence involving a pub bombing.
Demange doesn't shy away from the violence but nor does he shy from the effects of doing violence to others. This is a film about the perpetrators of pain, briefly exploring the theme of culpability. Hook is just a grunt, put in a situation where he must kill or be killed. Can he be held responsible for what he must do next? Embodying this anguish, it's another very strong performance from O'Connell. '71, Starred Up, and the forthcoming Unbroken should cement him as the new British face of brutal cinema.
I'm not sure '71 is a film to be taken totally seriously indeed, it never quite resolves its dual identity as a chase-'em-up and an issue movie but Yann Demange is a serious new talent to watch.