Film Review: ’71

Directed by Yann Demange
Written by Gregory Burke
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Richard Dormer, Sean Harris, Sam Reid

’71 takes place in Belfast at the height of the conflict between two factions of the IRA, the northern Protestants, the northern Catholics, the local constabulary and a squad of British soldiers. And is that enough players for you? There may have been more. Trying throwing them into the dead of night, adding thick accents, having several very confusing riot scenes and a fast-moving plot.
Newly arrived in Northern Ireland, a British squad is asked to look for firearms in an especially volatile area. One side of the street is Catholic, the other Protestant. Of course, chaos and violence ensue, the squad is overrun and the main protagonist I(O’Connell) gets chased into a hostile and brutal environment.

To outline the entire plot for you would test my ability to sort it all out–which I was never quite able to do. Nor were the three people I saw it with. There were so many players, so many sides–of course, that is the point, isn’t it?

Despite my inability to quite keep the players straight, I found this to be an excellent movie. It was beautifully filmed, brilliantly directed, well acted, and it never let up. No one is safe for longer than a minute or two–and this includes children. You wonder how Islamic terrorists recruit young men–here is an anglicized version of it. Highly recommended.

Patti Abbott