58th BFI London Film Festival | Pick of the Day: Thursday 9th October – ’71

71 - Jack O

A teenage British squaddie (Jack O’Connell) finds himself on the run for his life after being accidentally left behind by his army unit during a riot in this ferociously gripping thriller set in early 1970s Belfast. Lost in a maze of rat runs and back alleys, O’Connell’s callow young hero has no idea who is friend or foe, nor that his fate is bound up with the competing agendas of veteran IRA men, murderous Provisionals, Loyalist paramilitary hotheads and devious undercover army officers. With O’Connell’s arresting lead performance backed by a gritty supporting cast, ’71 marks an impressive feature debut from director Yann Demange, who uses jittery hand-held cameras to give the action cinema verité urgency and immediacy. Yet while we’re definitely right there in O’Connell’s shoes, sharing his terror and confusion, Black Watch playwright Gregory Burke’s astute script ensures we don’t lose sight of the era’s savage tribalism and murky politics.

’71  shows at the Vue at 6.30pm tonight and at 3pm tomorrow; and goes on general release from Friday 10th October.


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