Starring: Jack O'Connell, Sam Reid, Sean Harris
Book your Screening Here
’71 tells the story of a young soldier and his experience as Belfast erupts into sectarian violence. The film is set in west Belfast in the early years of the conflict, a year before Bloody Sunday; a time when Northern Ireland was still routinely referred to on television news as “the province”, like an outpost of the Roman empire.
Its central figure is played by Jack O’Connell, a terrific actor with the charisma of a young Albert Finney. He is Gary, an English lad from Derbyshire who has joined the Parachute Regiment, and who perhaps finds in the army the comforts of a replacement family.
A house-to-house search off the Falls Road goes horribly wrong; the resulting confrontation triggers a riot situation in which Gary is left behind by his retreating unit. He finds himself in a no-man’s-land where that well-honed phrase “the enemy within” appears to apply both to friend and foe. It is a world in which the authorities are running high-level informers and supplying arms to loyalist paramilitaries to maintain a deniable, proxy war.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
First-time director Yann Demange won the 2014 British independent film award for best director.