Yann Demange’s ‘71 offers a unique and harrowing perspective on the Troubles – it tells the story of rookie soldier Gary Hook (Jack O’Connell) who gets left behind on the streets of Belfast. Injured, panicked, and unable to tell friend from foe, Hook’s journey along the barricaded and burning maze of streets turns into one of the most intense thrillers of the year.
With vying Republican factions out for Hook’s blood, along with Loyalists and undercover British Army officers looking to eradicate him for their own reasons, ‘71 is an unrelenting unfolding of
bad situation after bad situation. Following on from last year’s excellent Starred Up, this is another incredible performance from Jack O’Connell, who is able to capture the sbsolute anxiety and dread
of the situation.
At times shockingly visceral, this may not be the film that you’ll want to see while nursing a hangover, but horror and thriller fans will be in their element. The Belfast we see in ’71 is terrifying because of its credibility. Demange’s film plays out as a breathless meditation on the search for identity and the ultimate futility of violence.