I am impressed with 71 since it had me on the edge of my couch the whole time. It was also a lesson about what was going in Belfast during the uprising.
The movie doesn’t let up either because of the fine direction by Yann Demange, and the unbelievable acting by all the cast. I am so impressed with the children actors in this movie. Sure. Jack O’Connell is fantastic. He reminds me of Steve McQueen, silent but powerful. The children were so heart wrenching, strong and innocent.
Demange throws the viewer into the grit and emotional torture these people went through during the civil unrest. The lesson is more of a concept of what it was like to be in Belfast. There is no back-story, which isn’t needed since we are at war now with civilians. Diabolical situation with just enough dialogue to keep us connected to the story.
The story concerns the very beginning of “The Troubles.” The violent thirty-year conflict in Northern Ireland based on the constitutional status of the country. The movie doesn’t explain “Troubles.” 71 is an experience, a slice of life that will forever be embedded in the souls of those who fought in this bloody war.
The story follows one soldier (O’Connell). His first maneuver is a nerve racking riot on the streets of Belfast. He accidentally gets separated from his unit and abandoned without a weapon. He tries surviving the night alone in a maze-like landscape with people after him. He has no idea who he can trust, but is scared beyond imagination – it’s intense. The movie is so believable I thought it was based on a true story. But, I haven’t been able to determine if that is true or not.
Demange challenges the audience in the beginning of the story by introducing the soldier’s son. They spend quality time together, so I was emotionally attached from the beginning and continued to have my fingers crossed throughout his ordeal. O’Connell’s breathtaking performance kept me in awe. He drives the whole movie. I encourage you to see this movie for the talented work of everyone involved.