’71 – Oundle Cinema
Director: Yann Demange
Cast: Jack O’Connell, Sam Reid, Sean Harris
Running Time: 99 mins
Three quick scenes in Yann Demange’s riveting thriller ’71 sketch out a British army unprepared for what awaits them. When a platoon of new recruits is told they are being shipped out, they assume they are heading for Germany, not Belfast. On their first day escorting the RUC on a patrol, they get lost and are pelted by children. And when they tool up, their commanding officer tells them to leave their riot gear behind because he doesn’t want to alarm the local community. Behind him, more experienced soldiers exchange sceptical looks. Their disbelief is justified: the platoon comes under attack, a scuffle leads to panicked exchanges and a hostile crowd becomes an angry mob.
In the middle of the riot, raw English recruit Gary (Jack O’Connell) is separated from his unit and chased deeper into a Belfast he doesn’t know. TV director Demange stages a deft, nightmarish chase through a labyrinth of streets and back alleys around the Falls Road, including IRA safehouses with walls knocked down to create a rat run through semi-detached homes.
‘Gregory Burke, who also wrote Black Watch for the National Theatre of Scotland, has scripted an atmosphere dense with anxiety, but also with sharp jolts and surprises from all sides’
Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman
Location Stahl Theatre