Synopsis: A soldier on his first tour (Jack O'Connell) in Northern Ireland gets accidentally left behind when a riot breaks out in dangerous part of Belfast.
Stan's thoughts: Been eager to see this since I saw Jack O'Connell play a violent young offender in Starred up earlier this year. The trailer for '71 held a lot of promise and the film didn't let me down, in fact it was even better.
This is more than just the cat and mouse game of Gary, the lost soldier, trying to get back to safety, never knowing if the people he meets are going to be friends or want to kill him. It is also about what he observes and experiences for good and bad on both sides of the conflict along the way.
The troubles remain a sensitive topic but in having Gary as a passive observer no sides are drawn. He makes no judgement, any action is survival extinct and last resort. In fact his fear is mirrored by many he meets on his journey.
What you get is a film in which there is layer after layer of gritty, grimy tension. O'Connell doesn't have much by way of words to communicate but the stress, fear and anxiety of his situation is palpable. He reminded me a little of Leonardo diCaprio's performance in Scorcese's The Departed, a film of such high tension and nerves it leaves you feeling a bit jittery afterwards. And '71 is the same but it does it in 98 minutes rather than two and a half hours.
This isn't a relaxing watch, it is one of those films that haunts you long after you've left the cinema and for that I loved it.
- Stan’s 88%
- IMDB 78%
- Metascore 81%
- Rotten Tomatoes 97%
- RT Audience Rating* 92%
* Based on number of people who rated the film 3.5/5 and higher