One of the most accomplished feature debuts of the year, Yann Demange's knife-edge thriller opens with the new army recruits patrolling the streets of Belfast at the height of the Troubles, only for one young British soldier Gary Hook, played by actor Jack O'Connell (Skins, This is England, Starred Up) to be separated from his unit and left running for his life. Steering clear of politics, '71 focuses on this young soldier's fight for survival, as both sides of the divide fall prey to internal conflicts. This superb thriller is no Dad's Army nor should it be as I've already mentioned that it is set in Belfast in 1971 but it might be anywhere...Sarajevo in the 1990's or Homs in the present day. The best war films always feel much bigger than any single conflict. This is so frightening and wild and real it could have been done in a single bloody take.
The screenplay is written by Gregory Burke, the Scottish playwright of the highly successful Black Watch...one of the first successes for the nascent National Theatre of Scotland, initially appearing at the Edinburgh festival in 2006 and going on to a massively successful worldwide tour, its his riveting story of "The Gallant Forty-Twa", as the now-amalgamated Scottish regiment was known. Based on interviews with soldiers who served in Iraq, Black Watch hurtled its cast from a smoky Fife pool room to a world of bullets, bombs and brutal death. It picked up four Olivier awards, including one for best new play, in 2009 and has won awards all over the world. Burke has now moved onto film with '71 and several in development as well as a series for Channel 4...here's an interview with him talking about his work to one of the film rags .... https://film.list.co.uk/article/65154-i ... e-to-film/
In a recent film thread I said after watching a particular film, I defy anyone not to rush out of the cinema and head for the nearest indian restaurant...for this film I would advise visiting the bar to indulge in a stiff whiskey or two before viewing...
I was anxious to see this film a second time as I watched it mostly through spaces in my fingers first time round...this is the second and final week of a re-run at the revamped Prince Charles cinema off Leicester Square and I'm glad I made time to see it before it disappears again. It really is a little gem of a film and deserves a wider audience;
Already rumoured to be up for several nominations for February's BAFTA award ceremony...it has seven nominations for the British Independent Film Awards 2014. The winners will be announced at the much anticipated 17th awards ceremony on Sunday 7th December at the impressive Old Billingsgate in London.