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Never have the troubles that plagued Northern Ireland been portrayed as succinctly as shown in "71". The hostilities between the Catholic and Protestant population isn't as cut and dry as would be assumed more akin to the quagmire that was Southeast Asia that ran concurrent with the events portrayed in this film. There are divisions within the Catholic militants likewise with their Protestant counterparts. Throw into the mix loyalists, collaborators, and British undercover operatives you would be hard pressed to discern friend from foe. The film focuses on young Gary Hook(Jack O'Connell), a British conscript sent to Belfast to police the unrest. Separated from his platoon during a skirmish with Catholic locals Hook has to navigate the hostile landscape of the strife torn city to get back to the safety of his barracks. His fear and anxiety is palpable and his every step is a potential landmine. Director Yann Demange helms this tautly intense film with an assured hand allowing the audience to view events through the frightened eyes of Hook. The success of the film is that it offers a fresh perspective on events in recent history that can't be explained in black-and-white terms.
It's April 2020 and the world is different than what it was just a month ago. Now I understand why countries around the world have been arming themselves to the teeth for the last decade. There is a war coming and that's why there's been so many war flicks lately. Tbh, after watching 1917 I told myself I would take a break but after watching the dreary "The Lighthouse" tonight I had to take that stain of a movie out of my mind and I when I saw the ratings for this movie I said, "why not." So glad I did! Outstanding. The main character is complex and acts authentic like someone would really act in that situation. Funny thing is, I'm half British and half Irish so I didn't quite know who to pull for in this movie. What I can tell you is the conflict was a dirty business with a bunch of double crossing bastards for real. If you want to watch a authentic film about the "Troubles" in the 70's in Northern Ireland this is as good as it gets. Strongly recommend. It was over too fast that's when I know a film is really good. I'll watch this one again for sure.
'71 is the story of a British soldier who is separated from his unit during a riot, so he must find a way to stay alive until he finds safety and is able to rejoin his fellow soldiers. This movie is about the Troubles a war between The Provisional IRA or the Irish Republican Army also known as the Provos, and the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary and several paramilitary groups. They were terrorists fighting to unite Northern Ireland with Ireland. They were Marxist terrorists. This war that lasted from 1968 to 1998 wasn't a religious war like i thought but was politically motivated. This movie details the dilemma facing Jack O' Connell. This movie is gripping and attention grabbing.
Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2015
I give this movie 3.5 stars, but amazon only lets you vote in whole stars. I'll err to the side of 4 stars as opposed to 3.
"'71" is the story of a British soldier who goes on a mission with his unit into Dublin, Northern Ireland to arrest an IRA sympathizer. Pro-Catholic, Irish sympathizers start to protest and then riot and become violent towards the British soldiers and the situation becomes confused. One British soldier is killed and his rifle is stolen by a little kid. Our hero chases after the kid, but then gets beat up, left behind, and stuck behind enemy lines for the night. This is the story of his survival in enemy waters, and the British army's attempt to get him back.
I think this movie is sort of the essence of a solidly done movie. There is really nothing to complain about here, and the plot is very muscular, and moves in a very dynamic, logical way. The action flows very strongly and swiftly. One piece of action flows the way it should into the next, and the whole thing comes off as very sophisticated and intelligent. It also highlights the plight in Northern Ireland very well.
Oddly, the main character doesn't talk very much, and much of the action centers around his compatriots' attempts to get him back and of his enemies attempts to hunt him down. There are two factions of enemies in the IRA: the older, more political and diplomatic ones that just want to capture him, and the younger ones that want to kill him. This movie is also very sophisticated at blending in the spying aspect of the whole conflict, and I thought that was a great turn.
The only thing that knocks this down to 3.5 stars from 5 is the fact that it really is just an action movie, and it doesn't have the biggest human element to it. You don't really get to know the characters and what they are like and why they do what they do. The movie is ever so slightly shallow, but don't let that stop you from watching it: it does its job as an action movie really well. I do recommend this movie, although if you're an American, you might want to watch it with the subtitles, the Irish accents are extremely thick in places.
I read some of the other reviews.... I think this presentation is better than they did. There is not much dialogue or discussion but really, would there be in this sort of case? One of the underlying factors is absolutely no one is trustworthy ..... so not really a time for soul-bearing. The actor does supply a huge amount of feedback via his expressions, which is a severe test of an actor -- and he does it very well. Bear in mind (as they show in the movie) his unit was just sent to Northern Ireland; he is as lost and confused about what is happening as anyone else might be, having been thrust into a diabolically dangerous situation with no clear way out. In that sense, his being "lost" in the Catholic zone may be seen as a metaphor for his being lost, and everyone being lost, in what was a long and tragic series of missteps by virtually everyone involved.
A British soldier gets separated from his unit in West Belfast in 1971 and sets out on a one-man Anabasis to find safety. As another reviewer has pointed out, in reality safety would have been only 10 minutes away but would the soldier have known in which direction it lay, and would he even have lived that long? This is a tense, gripping movie, a bit reminiscent of "Southern Comfort" (National Guardsmen training in the Louisiana swamps fall foul of local Cajuns) and "The Warriors" (a New York street gang stranded in hostile territory). I remember this kind of stuff in 1970's Belfast and I can say that the events in "71" are only slightly exaggerated for dramatic effect! I would suggest that, in real life, the security forces were maybe a bit less evil and a lot less stupid than they way they are depicted here, but as entertainment this is certainly worth 5 stars.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 18, 2015
A tense powerful thriller, '71 is a must watch.
When O'Connell's soldier boy is sent to Ireland amidst the unrest he doesn't realise the potential threat he faces. When his squadron is over run by rioters he gets left behind in an uncompromising dangerous environment. Every turn he takes or person he runs into has a potential threat but in order to survive and get back to safety he has to keep moving.
The story is tense and thrilling and moves along at a good pace. The action is realistic and brutal rather than over blown and O'Connell is a gripping watch. The human elements of the story work well and it does a good job of not taking sides or portraying anyone unfairly. The rioting etc is more of a backdrop than a focus which keeps the story engaging and well paced.
4.0 out of 5 starsThe REAL NORTHERN IRELAND in 1971
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 23, 2015
A Brutal film. Shows the TROUBLES in Ireland as they really were and the complexities of Divided loyalties. It is not pleasant to watch and is grim and just horrible in parts - The British do this sort of film really really well - The Truth warts and all ! The attention to period details is stunningly good, the acting is at times beyond acting it's like being there - too real for comfort and the way it shows the treatment of the Soldier at the end by the British Army is I think HOW IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BACK THEN Before the world went SILLY
The film is a lesson in FEAR AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IT - it shows well the feeling of Mistrust and confusion - Blind running Fear as in a state of SHOCK! - You will not be Disappointed!
What a great film. The suspense is just amazing and anyone that lived through the era of this film will appreciate how well re-created it is. I would recommend this film to anyone. Acting is brilliant, the sets create very believable, troubled Northern Ireland...a well worth addition to anyone's film collection.
Jack O'Connell is truly an excellent actor and I have been a fan of his for a long time.His performance as rookie soldier Gary Hook in 71 is rivetting.This is an edge of your seat film that does not let up until the end.When Hook is left stranded in war torn Belfast after a riot,he must use his wits and luck to survive the night until he can get back to base,enemies are unknown and everywhere,even in the most unlikely of places.I cannot recommend this film highly enough.
4.0 out of 5 starsthe premise of the story was good and I wondered how they would handle it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 5, 2015
When I read the synopsis, the premise of the story was good and I wondered how they would handle it. And they did well in that the plot has no glaring holes and all in all it is quite believable.The important thing is that characters in the film act "sensibly" and don't do things that are ridiculous. This movie retains its realism of Belfast in the "Troubles" from start to finish and is well worth watching.
Very intense, and true to what actually went on during the troubles. this used to be covered on news channels all the time back then. 70's. The movie goes further into what life was like for rookies thrown in at the deep end so to speak. Can also be viewed for a historical point of view. It actually happened.
5.0 out of 5 starsJack O'Connell is great in lead role
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2015
Rookie soldier sent to Belfast for first time and is cut off from his patrol in hostile area.He must then try to make his way back to safety amid sub plots of danger.Jack O'Connell is great in lead role.Streets of Blackburn used for Belfast and a block of flats in Sheffield for Divis flats and Lower Falls Road which were demolished years ago.
The film took me at the throat! Very good acting by Jack O'Çonnel. A raw, violent movie with a very, very intense ending. Such good acting by relativly young actors. It once more shows the stupidety of violence and misbehaviour! I was very upset during watching this film. This happens not too often in my case. A ANTI VIOLENCE film.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2015
Interesting film and very gripping throughout but ending was disappointing and could've done with a bit more follow up. Also one particular part of the plot goes unexplained which was frustrating frustratiNg.