• James Rutherford

'71': A Volatile, Pulse-Pounding Historical Thriller Set in Northern Ireland in 1971


Movie poster for the film 71 starring Jack O’Connell

“’71” (2014) is an immersive historical thriller set in 1971 (at the height of The Troubles) that focuses on a young English soldier named Hook (Jack O’Connell) who is inadvertently abandoned by his battalion on the streets of Belfast after a violent clash with Loyalist dissidents.

Desperately scrapping to stay alive, Hook scrambles and claws his way through the dangerous streets of Belfast while being pursued by Irish Republican Army members as well as the covert Military Reaction Force of the British Army. The green young infantryman ultimately finds unlikely support from various local citizens with varying allegiances, even as the ominous brew of hostility and fear continues to enshroud him.

Serving as both an exciting action film and an insightful historical depiction of Belfast at the height of the Northern Ireland Conflict, “’71” was an utterly dynamite debut from first-time director Yann Demange (White Boy Rick). Few films in recent years have captured a dramatic moment in history with such immediacy and fervor.

 

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