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.
The movie shows the British soldiers holding the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle (SLR) with black plastic butt stock and fore grip. These were not trailed by the British Army until 1974 and were then phased in over the next 8 years. The rifles should all have had wooden butt stocks and fore grips. See more »
[after Lt. Armitage told him about Sergeant Leslie Lewis attempt to kill Gary Hook]
It was a confused situation. In these circumstances, what you saw, what you think you saw, can be a very different thing to what actually happened. Do you understand?
Do you understand?
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Introduced by a hard-hitting boxing fight; the ethos of '71 is immediately understood. It is brutal, thrilling and an utterly dramatic directorial debut from Yann Demange.
Part of a new regiment, Jack O'Connell's lead character, Gary Hook, is deployed to Belfast, Northern Ireland to help control an emergency situation caused by IRA terrorism. Gaining an essence of Full Metal Jacket meeting I am Solider the film is quite honest in what it wants to be, and the narrative because of it flows consistently in the right direction.
Sent into the front-line urban warfare, Hook's regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Armitage (Sam Reid) is quickly bombarded with urine and pooh packages. Then quickly followed by one of the most realistic, violent and dramatic riots that has ever appeared in film.
Soon, Hook is separated from his group and forced to survive as a lone-wolf in the devilish-toned IRA hostile territory. All quickly intensifies to an incredible Bourne-style chase through the streets of terror; what with the cars alight at each corner, crisp cinematography
everything feels authentic.
'They do not care about you, to them, you are just a piece of meat' one character announces to Hook. But how wrong they are, as '71 soon turns into a game of cat vs. cat vs. mouse in a hunt of find him first.
Led by Jack O'Connell (Starred Up), his performance is uncanny but just one of the many highlights that '71 serves up. Co-starring alongside, Sean Harris and Paul Anderson play undercover superiors, yet are as corrupt as Bad Lieutenant.
Regimented like the army, '71 is on point. Everything is there for a reason, and it shows on screen. Struck with luck, but unlucky to have been there in the first place, Jack O'Connell prospers and carries the film even when it is unneeded and secures it as one of this year's best thrillers.
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