Writer: Gregory Burke (Screenplay)
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Sam Reid, Sean Harris, Sam Hazeldine, Killian Scott
Plot: In 1971, a young and disorientated British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the deadly streets of Belfast.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Behind Enemy Lines – Ireland
Story: 71 starts as we see Gary Hook (O’Connell) going through his training with his regiment before they get deployed to Belfast to deal with the riot situation. In Ireland the regiment receive their instructions and onto the Catholic side of the war. When the riots get out of hand Gary finds himself on the wrong side of the barrier alone and unarmed in the Irish territory.
With tensions rising Gary finds himself in the middle of the battle not knowing which side to trust as both side are preparing to attack each other as Gary learns the harsh reality of what these riots are causing.
71 puts us into the middle of the Irish riots showing just one soldier’s experience behind enemy lines, this works well. My issue with the story is unless you know the history which I only know the basics you are left kind of wondering why the riots are happening in the first place. Another problem I found was telling what was going on with the supporting characters like who was on whose side which I do understand adds to the mystery but in this situation we should be able to identify them easily. As a film about survival in an urban setting this is great though.
Jack O’Connell: Gary Hook is the young soldier who is on his first mission on the streets on Belfast during the riots of 71, trying to receive a lost weapon he gets separated by his unit and stranded alone behind enemy lines never sure who to trust. Jack is great in this leading role in what was an outstanding year for the young actor.
Sam Reid: Lt. Armitage is one of the men that wants to start searching for Gary but constantly gets put down Captain Browning. Sam is solid in this role but doesn’t get enough screen time.
Sean Harris: Captain Sandy Browning is the man running the situation he knows that Gary is alive but really is playing both sides of the battle. Sean is also solid but only in a supporting role.
Killian Scott: Quinn is one of the leaders out trying to kill Gary, he takes his men and boys out on the streets on the hunt for him and will hurt anyone who gets in his way. Killian is good in what seems like one of the primary villains.
Support Cast: 71 has a large supporting cast but working out which side they are on gets confusing at times.
Director Review: Yann Demange – Yann gives us wonderfully shot sequences throughout but not enough back story to the events on the film.
Action: 71 has intensely shot action sequences involved.
Thriller: 71 keeps us on edge as we watch Gary trying to survive the warzone.
War: 71 puts us into a warzone as we see Gary trying to avoid conflict seemingly around every single corner.
Settings: 71 puts us in the warzone of the Belfast streets which really works to pull us into the story.
Special Effects: 71 has great effects when needed without having to just go overboard with them.
Suggestion: 71 is one for fans of the genre but otherwise people might find it slightly hard to keep up with. (War Film Fans Watch)
Best Part: Bomb shock.
Worst Part: Not enough history of the events.
Believability: The riots were real but story is fictional.
Chances of Tears: No
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Similar Too: Behind Enemy Lines
Awards: Nominated for One BAFTA.
Oscar Chances: No
Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
Trivia: Most scenes within the film were shot in Northern England, not in the film’s setting of Belfast.
Overall: Good history war thriller that is intense but never fully drags you into believing everything.