When Irish eyes aren't smiling
Cinema Nova - Monday 30 March 2015, 11:00am
Running time: 100m
Country: United Kingdom
Classification: MA15+ (Strong themes, violence and coarse language)
Release date: 19/03/15
Cost: $7 (Nova discount)
Rating: 9/10 (ME 4.5/5, DP 4.5/5)
Young soldier Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) finds himself deployed to Northern Ireland during the height of 'the troubles' during 1971. When a riot breaks out Gary finds himself separated from the rest of his team and negotiating his way back to safety through the labyrinth of hostility, the lines between friend and foe become difficult to distinguish. When Gary sees more than he should it becomes increasingly important that he is returned to the barracks as soon as possible.
71 is an intense film that is difficult to watch at times. Jack O'Connell (Unbroken) is superb and demonstrates extensive range as the inexperienced and vulnerable Gary. The tension in the film builds quickly and is sustained with a relentless pace throughout a very tight 100 minutes which covers a very short time frame. Music is used sparingly but to great effect. In fact it's the sounds and silences of the film that enhance the tension; a scene early in the film with women banging rubbish bin lids on the footpath is particularly eerie. There are some shaky scenes that add to the urgency and the lighting adds to the uneasy tone throughout.
If you're intending to see 71 you should be aware that the violence in the film is extreme and realistic and some of the imagery is shocking and confronting. We found ourselves feeling very uncomfortable during this film and were still feeling a bit shaky afterwards. It is a well-made and sophisticated film and very well worth seeing but it is certainly not for all viewers. (ME)