’71 (2014) – Review by Clay Bloodworth

71 clay review

“71” one to seek out

“71” had my heart racing. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t need to stop. The audience is thrown into a story with grit, one told in an uncompromising fashion. We don’t need any backstory. We don’t need any sort of setup. All we need is now. That now is war. Hellish war to be precise. But, it isn’t exactly your typical setting.

What we’re seeing is the very beginning of what came to be called ‘The Troubles’. This is referring to a violent thirty-year conflict in Northern Ireland that mainly concerned the constitutional status of the country. However, if I may be blunt, the specifics don’t really matter. This isn’t a film that deals with a huge scope. Our story is right in front of us and is all the viewer needs: one soldier (that being Jack O’Connell of “Unbroken” fame). After a terrifying riot on the crowded streets of Belfast, this one soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit and left to survive the night alone in a bewildering new landscape. He has people after him, doesn’t know who he can trust, and is as scared as can be.

It’s certainly one of the most intense films I’ve seen all year and doesn’t let up. But, as I said earlier, it doesn’t need to. The audience is already emotionally attached from the first few scenes and continues to root for him as his safety is questioned. Yann Demange, a director that’s fairly new to the field, shows a natural knack for filmmaking and brilliantly brings this story to life alongside actor Jack O’Connell. Who, if you hadn’t already made notice of, should definitely do so now. His sensational performance floored me and ultimately drives the whole film. They’re a phenomenal team and are both ones to watch. Seek this film out, you won’t be sorry. “71” is now playing in limited release.

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