A young British soldier must find his way back to safety after his unit accidentally abandons him during a riot in the streets of Belfast.
ActorsStarring: Jack O'Connell, Paul Anderson, Sean Harris, Sam Reid, Sam Hazeldine, Charlie Murphy, Valene Kane, David Wilmot, Killian Scott, Ben Peel, Richard Dormer, Martin McCann
Jack O’Connel is the strong lead in ’71. He plays a British soldier, Gary, expecting to be stationed in Germany, but instead his unit ends up ‘helping’ in Belfast. Early in his deployment he accidentally gets separated from and then abandonded by his unit in a Belfast ghetto, leaving him to find a way to survive amongst ‘the Troubles’.
The movie doesn’t explain any of the context of the Troubles – it assumes the viewer knows; assuming you do, it sets out to give a realistic feel of the street battles in the Belfast ghetto. The story starts out straightforward, and focuses on Gary, and manages to paint a bleak picture of the situation and how Gary experiences it. When he is abandonded, things intensify further, in a good way.
But as the narrative progresses, conspiracies are introduced that then drive the story and all the secondary characters, but neither the conspiracy nor these characters are given much depth unfortunately.
Overall it is a tense thriller, makes for interesting viewing to get a feel for what was going on in Northern Ireland in those days, and has a pretty good score and a strong lead actor. It is let down by a somewhat shallow conspiracy angle to the plot that isn’t bottomed out in any way and therefore almost detracts more than it adds.
A very decent film, unfortunately not a great one.