Brutal, thrilling and utterly dramatic. (by CharlieGreenCG)
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 <more>
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.
A much needed film about life as an ordinary private in Belfast in the 1970's. In those days the death of a solider was not real news, although it was reported some days it was an RUC officer . It was more noteworthy when a day when by when a British soldier didn't get shot. The army officers and soldiers ignorance about politics and geography is fatal as they are immediately thrown into situations of which they have zero understanding and little chance of success.Even the youngest Belfast child is tougher and more clued in than an English soldiers raised in care. The story focuses <more>
on one private and on his first day is remarkably unlucky or lucky depending on if you're a glass half full person . He can't trust anybody and is sharp enough to know this.He meets Catholics and Protestants, sees humanity on both sides without ever understanding what is going on, besides he needs to get out. Great one liners that force a laugh in a silent and tense cinema.Script - Amazing ! Acting - World Class ! Casting - OUTSTANDING ! Direction - Wild and controlled at the same time Cinematography - Gritty and beautiful Set Design - Spot OnNo need for music to distract from the terror of the situation but I suppose the Miami Show Band's https://www.youtube.com/watch? v wCTxtjhLhW4 is the only tune that fits.The quality of the supporting acting should steal the full line up at the Oscars and its a shame it won't get a look in.Thank you for this OUTSTANDING film
Brilliant portrayal of the Troubles in Northern Ireland (by ekwright7-70-556656)
I have had first hand experience of the Troubles and I must say this movie was exceptionally realistic. The riot scenes were spot on, and many of the scenarios did actually happen though not in one night . The brutal execution of the soldier at the edges of a riot as depicted in the film actually happened in 1986 I believe but the second soldier did not escape in the real event. There were many own goal bombs just as shown in the plot and we now know that individual army officers took on amateur special operations roles and often made a mess of things Cpt Nairac . There was lots of <more>
understated dialog which probably those unfamiliar with the history and culture will miss e.g. The class tension between the Sandhurst educated officer and his men - the fact that the man who assisted the soldier in Divis was an ex soldier, the split loyalties, the compassion of ordinary people, the lack of hate in the young gunman - the military hearing with foregone conclusion - the Jamaican corporal - so many subtleties in this film shone through. Two small anachronisms which I spotted which in no way takes away from the film's brilliance was the fact that the dead soldier was left alone until evening. This would not have happened. The protocol among the Catholic community of the time would have been to inform the local priest and he would have called the RUC barracks and told them. The place would then have been saturated with at least a battalion - not the couple of squads you see turning up. The second thing was Guinness being served in a Loyalist pub. Yes, even the drinks were a sectarian marker.
The best film on 'the Troubles' so far (by MOscarbradley)
In 1971 I was living on the fringes of Derry's Bogside. On several occasions my home was 'collateral damage' in a number of bombings and I remember lying on the floor of my bedroom in case I might fall victim to a stray bullet from one of the gun-battles raging outside. I drank in pubs that would be bombed in time and I was on the march on Bloody Sunday. Things were bad in Derry in 1971 but they were a lot worse in Belfast which is where and when Yann Demange's terrific movie "'71" is set. Maybe it's because I had first-hand experience but I've never <more>
really taken to films about 'the Troubles'. Irish film-makers have usually shied away from the subject, a rare good exception being Jim Sheridan's "In the Name of the Father" and that was set mostly in England , leaving it up to the English and the Americans to tackle them, mostly ineptly, exceptions again being Alan Clarke's made-for-television film "Elephant" and Steve McQueen's "Hunger" , so my expectations of "'71" were far from high, yet I believe this will be the film about the Northern Ireland 'Troubles' by which all others will be judged. Firstly nothing happens on screen that seems far-fetched or exaggerated, and here is a film that doesn't pull its punches in showing the collusion between the British Government and paramilitaries on both sides . It's a film that could never have been made in the seventies and even 20 years ago it would have been banned here in Northern Ireland. Politically, it's dynamite but it's as a nail-biting, nerve-shredding thriller that it really makes its mark. In may respects it's a very minimalist work, taking place almost entirely over the course of one night and is really made up of two lengthy set-pieces. It's about Private Hook, a superb Jack O'Connell , a young British solider who, on his first day of active service in Belfast, is separated from his platoon and forced to go on the run in a totally alien landscape where he is seen as 'the enemy' to be hunted down and killed. We've seen this story before. In "Odd Man Out" James Mason was the IRA man on the run in an equally treacherous Belfast but as they say, it's a tale as old as time. Outstanding American examples have included "Deliverance" and "Southern Comfort", albeit in very different settings, but few have packed the punch of "'71"; this is a terrifyingly tense thriller.It's also the feature debut of Yann Demange who handles the material with all the assurance of a Paul Greengrass. He shoots it as if it were a newsreel, using mostly a hand-held camera, the DoP is Tat Radcliffe , putting the audience in the centre of things. For once, all the performances are superb. In the past actors playing either Ulstermen or the occupying forces have often been reduced to nothing more than mouth-pieces; not here. Everyone on screen is utterly believable. This is one of the finest films you will see all year.
A superb debut from this team - Brilliant piece of film making (by azanti0029)
Set against the complex backdrop of the beginnings of Northern Ireland in 71 but before Bloody Sunday really turned the tide in the favour of the IRA in 72 this is an extremely well made taught piece of drama. With an assured performance by rising star Jack O'Connell in the lead, he plays a young soldier Gary Hook recently deployed to Northern Ireland who finds himself out of his dept when going on his first patrol thanks to the incompetence of his CO Sam Reid - Separated from his unit and lost in a city he doesn't know he's forced in a fight for survival as its hard to tell who <more>
is friend and who is foe in this extremely well written piece of drama. The writer here has taken care not to paint one side entirely good or bad and that is how it was. Wounded and armed with nothing but a knife Hook has enemies closing in from all sides as the film draws to a bloody climax. I don't want to be accused of gushing praise, but there is much to compliment the whole team involved here, from the tones of the production design, beautifully capturing the mood feel and look of the 1970's in drab pastels and the grey of urban decay. The editing, directing, lighting is all bang on the money but greatest of all is the casting, for it is not only O'Connell who shines here, but the younger members of the cast almost upstage him with their brilliant performances. Two stand outs of the younger cast were Corey McKinley Listed rather almost like an extra on here as 'Loyalist Child which seems a little unfair and Barry Keoghan - The former is clearly a star in the making with his ballsy performance while Keoghan with almost no lines makes an amazing impact with simple looks conveying the struggles of emotion he feels inside when it comes to committing to a path of violence. Veterans Sean Harris brings his creepy presence to the duplicitous under cover unit commander but it is an energetic performance by O'Connell that brings it all together. Let us hope we do not loose him to Hollywood entirely. The film also takes time to give Hooks character some context, so we have some idea of his own life and attachments back home. A man almost without a family but not without people who are depending on him, this is a true depicting for many whom join the army, an alternative to spending life on the dole. This film is living proof that we can make thrilling and exciting cinema in the UK but still leave some room for Social Commentary within the context of a great story - an excellent thriller which hints at the dark path that was to follow in Northern Ireland for many years. Strongly recommended.
Just out of military training, Thommo and Gary are soon on their way to Northern Ireland. "You're not going out of the country," people say to them cheerfully "so you should feel good about that." They do not feel good about this. There are burning vehicles, bombs and deafening mobs with rocks, bags of excrement and other crude weapons. This is not a good time to find yourself separated from your unit, yet Gary manages to do so. Suddenly he is alone on the streets of Belfast and in the wrong kind of green clothing. Gary is in for a long night. There are no clear lines <more>
between the U.K. military, I.R.A., paramilitary units on both sides, those just trying to help or those who will sell him to the highest bidder. Of course there is a role for luck too. Gary places his trust in a little kid who has grown up a little too quickly. The two descend into secret passageways, pouring rain and a maelstrom of violence and deception. The finely wrought film is full of intensity and realism. In all its violence and brutality there is a decent message about the intolerable toll that such violence takes on people and society. It is only on the streets of Belfast that Gary discovers he is "just a piece of meat" to those who order him around. The main actor is still a little green, and not in a sense that he is Irish but that he is just starting out. He does well though. So did the filmmakers. The director said he picked the main actor for the role after just sharing a beer with him. I wish all such interviews were so easy. "Thankfully people believed in me" said the director. Yes, thankfully! Seen at the Princess of Wales Theatre and the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
A Good Thriller But The Convoluted Contrived Plotting Stops It From Being An Instant Classic (by Theo Robertson)
New recruit Gary Hook finds his battalion shipped to Northern Ireland in the Autumn of 1971 . Bidding farewell to his brother who is in care Gary promises him he'll stay safe . However on his first call out in Belfast he finds himself trapped in a republican ghetto . As events unfold he comes across an undercover Military Reaction Force MRF and they decide Gary might have seen too much for him to be allowed to live Sorry if I've perhaps given away too much in that plot summary but there is something a little bit misleading about the marketing campaign of this movie . Watching the <more>
trailer I instantly had this nailed as a reworking of Anabasis by Greek writer Xenophon from a couple of thousand years ago and which Walter Hill made a career out of reworking via films like THE WARRIORS . For a segment there is an aspect of this to '71 but that's not the whole story and is effectively a conspiracy thriller rather than a straightforward one about a man trapped behind enemy lines This is a pity because the thriller elements work superbly and my fingernails were much shorter after I left the cinema than they were when I went in . There was also a scene that literally caused me to jump out of my seat and you'll know the scene I'm talking about when you see this movie . You can see why critics and many of the comments on this page are raving about this movie . It's a low budget thriller made by a first time director Yann Demange and yet has great commercial appeal and to coin cinematic cliché had this audience member held in a vice like grip Where the film doesn't work so well is the conspiracy line in " conspiracy thriller " . Gary you see might have seen something so the MRF unit led by Captain Browning have to get rid of him . Browning it seems has his fingers in every paramilitary pie in Belfast and uses his connections in the republican heartland to find and eliminate Gary . This is the film's major failing - we just have to accept Browning's collusion with all sides and yet there's no logic and motivation for having him to do this . Some people might say it's not beyond the realms of impossibility for military intelligence to have done this in real life but the problem with documenting the Troubles is that rumour , hearsay and myth quickly becomes if not accepted fact then a repeated meme that will never go away . There's also another fault to the plotting where Gary escapes the nationalist Falls Road , finds himself in the loyalist Shankill and because of a plot twist finds himself back in the Falls Road again . In reality there's only a distance of half a mile between the two locations but it's highly unlikely in the era it's set Gary wouldn't have bumped in to an Army or RUC patrol . The implausibility is compounded that the film draws attention to the fact that entrances to these tribal enclaves are guarded by paramilitaries This is a pity because everything else about the film works brilliantly . It has a great sense of time and place and it's only going on to Wikipedia that I found out the notorious Divis flats area no longer exists . I was willing to bet my life that the pivotal heart stopping scene towards the end was shot there on location . The cast are uniformly superb especially the prolific and constantly overlooked Sean Harris as Browning . It also makes a point now long forgotten that the Official and Provisional wings of the IRA were far from allies . That said bare in mind this is still a fictional work and not a documentary In summary this might well be the very best film to feature The Troubles , a subject that has never lent itself to satisfying cinema . It's underlying problem is that it tries to be a little bit too complex and bring in a major subplot about the murky world of army spooks when in fact the story might have actually worked better by keeping faith in the premise of a British soldier lost in West Belfast in 1971 and it's this that stops the film becoming something of an instant classic it's being heralded as from some quarters . Nevertheless I give it 8/10
Very compelling story, very well told, populated with believable characters (by JvH48)
I saw this film at the Berlinale film festival 2014, where it was part of the official competition. A lot of action plus a lot of yelling and F-words, but that is to be expected given the circumstances. A welcome surprise was that the plot was not confined to a lone soldier lost in a strange and hostile city as suggested by the synopsis , but luckily went a few steps further by bringing up the topic of good versus bad and who to trust if someone is offering to help. You never knew which side someone is on, and whether there is no hidden agenda, in spite of showing interest in your well being <more>
and offering to help you out of a situation you can impossibly cope with on your own devices.An important additional plot element was that the solider saw something that could have exposed a double agent. From that moment on he was endangered by several parties, some of them prepared to eliminate him in order to prevent exposure of their secrets. That extra bonus made this movie worth while, and provided for sufficient material to fill the 100 minutes running time. Being severed from his patrol unit, and his struggle all night long to get back to them, would on itself not have been enough. But the second half brought enough additional elements to make up a wonderful film, regardless of the underlying war-zone struggles in Belfast that we don't understand anymore nowadays. Nevertheless, such issues are of all times. We see ample similar civil wars elsewhere, also with an undercurrent of religious differences.In the final scenes we see an internal inquest into what happened, but not all people tell the truth and nothing but the truth. I failed to get a grip on this finale, and could not understand which a**es were exactly covered up by who. It did not ruin my viewing experience, however. This film is not about Action alone, but also about the missing "good" and "bad" delineations inherent to civil war situations. Covering up stupid mistakes and shifting the blame is something of all times, as are double agents working for both sides.
Tracking a young British soldier who fights for his life after being stranded by his unit on the vicious streets of Belfast, this 1971-set thriller is as grubby, tense and frenetic as the Northern Ireland conflict itself. Debutant Yann Demange does a sterling job in the director's chair, bringing a Paul Greengrass-esque urgency to the action with a combination of regular close-up shots and not-too-shaky hand-held camera work. Demange wisely opts for a quality over quantity approach to the brutal violence too, resulting in a few impactful events of savagery and gore that enhance the <more>
tension and dread rather than exploit it. Occurring over one night only, Demange – working from Gregory Burke's sparing, taut script – wrings suspense from moments as small as an uncomfortable conversation in a bar, and as big as a cat-and-mouse set piece in an apartment complex or the dazed aftermath of an explosion. It's not all smooth sailing though. The relatively unexplained bookending scenes are a tad cheesy and add little, whilst the bulk of the supporting characters are rarely more than stereotypes, albeit played with gusto. But this movie unmistakably belongs to lead actor, and recent BAFTA Rising Star winner, Jack O'Connell. His Private Gary Hook is resilient yet fragile, strong-willed yet frightened, making him a relatable everyman who will do anything to stay alive. It's not a film you could call "fun", but it's a riveting watch that rewards those willing to be immersed in its gritty and uncompromising survival story.