London Film Festival 2014: ’71



by Mark Wilshin

Yann Demange, the director behind British genre TV hits Dead Set and Top Boy, delivers one fire-cracker of a debut with ’71. In competition for the Sutherland Award, it’s a seat-clencher of a film about a British soldier caught behind enemy lines in Belfast at the height of the Troubles. It’s due in no small measure to Jack O’Connell’s performance who carries the film almost singlehandedly – with just the right amount of military bravado, naive desperation and gentle disillusionment. It’s more of a gung-ho escape adventure than a serious look at nationalist freedom fighters and defenders of the realm, but conjuring up a violent and unpredictable Belfast, it’s an atmospheric and vivid depiction of an ordinary hero.

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