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'71

Bomb-torn Belfast in 1971 must have been like nowhere else on Earth  more like a rubble-strewn circle of hell. This is the apocalyptic vision laid out in Yann Demanges stunningly well-crafted survival thriller, 71. The film's stark realism and bruising impact are enough in themselves, but the risk, and the real artistic payoff, is its bold sensory plunge into this Hadean inferno. Jack OConnell [Starred Up] stars as Gary Hook, a young squaddie fresh out of training school, whose unit is dispatched to help with peacekeeping in the Northern Irish capital, amid the rising tensions of that fatefully violent year. These unprepared rookies have barely taken to the streets before rioting breaks out, and Gary finds himself cut adrift from his companions. As night closes in, he has no idea how to get back to his barracks, and must throw himself on the mercy of loyalist allies who are no certain guarantees of sanctuary& Gary is by no means the kind of trigger-happy meathead you might expect to find as an extra in Paul Greengrasss much more politically incendiary Bloody Sunday. Instead, hes green, terrified, out of his depth. OConnells performance in this near-wordless role hardly strikes a false note: hes excellent as usual. You expect the film to make a lunge for balance at some point, but the wrinkles in its plotting arrive at offhandedly shocking moments, and its remarkable how well the script, by Scottish playwright Gregory Burke (Black Watch), manages to weave a nexus of competing agendas without indulging in heavy-weather exposition at any point.  Tim Robey, The Telegraph

Year: 2015
Genre: Drama, Thrillers & Suspense, Film Festivals 2015
Country: UK
Director: Yann Demange
Starring: Jack O'Connell, Adam Nagaitis, Paul Popplewell, Jack Lowden
Duration: 100 Minutes
Rating: R16 - Contains graphic violence and offensive language.
8.4/10
Location in store: Thriller

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