’71

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(2014) ★★★★

Film4: PREMIERE Thursday 26 November, 9pm

Hoping for a posting in Germany, young English squaddie Jack O’Connell is sent to Belfast in 1971, the year before BloodySunday. His kid brother’s in care, and concerned. “I’m not even leaving the country,” says Jack, “so you’ve got nothing to worry about.” Assisting the RUC on a house search in west Belfast’s Catholic community, Jack’s accidentally abandoned by his unit during a street riot.

He’s unarmed and on the run behind the barricades. As bleak in its disposition as Alan Clark’s Elephant, although rather more engaging, ’71 is a remarkably assured debut feature from director Yann Demange and writer Gregory Burke. Poignantly, it brings to mind the title of Daniel Mornin’s Ulster novel, All Our Fault (memorably filmed in 1995 as Nothing Personal).

The untidy violence is sudden and shocking, as ugly as the burned-out wrecks blocking the streets with no signs, as unforgivable as the wallpaper in the dowdy barricaded pubs (not the patterns so much as the peeling). “I’m not going to lie to you,” says ex-army medic Richard Dormer to the injured Jack. “This is going to hurt.” Confidently employing widescreen composition and stealthy music in a 24-hour time frame, ’71 is as compelling as a John Carpenter siege picture. And, yes, it hurts.

Certificate: 15

Duration: 99min

IMDB – ’71

TMDB – ’71

Rotten Tomatoes – ’71

Other Showings Date & Time
Film4 Sunday, 6 December at 9:00PM