’71

In my opinion, one of the best films of recent times, particularly on the matter of The Troubles. As an American of Irish descent and a student of the 800 year history of the Angl0-Irish Conflict, I’ll tell you, it’s not easy to make a movie about the events in Belfast in 1971. Irish Republicans and Irish Loyalists at the throats of one another (naturally, because they’re Irish and have no other worthy opponents), with the occupying British Army trying hard to keep the peace between the two factions. It’s a rare film that doesn’t privilege one side over the other and still manages to keep the sympathy of the audience. ’71 is that film. Our sympathy for the protagonist isn’t based on his nationality or factional affiliation, but on his love for his brother, and the fear that any soldier has that he might not come home from his latest assignments. The oppression of the Catholics is palpable, and corruption and double-dealing are rampant on all sides as they each try to deal with their devils to keep the fragile peace. It’s a movie that shows that there are no heroes and no winners in a civil strife, a poignant lesson in our own Troubled times. Very glad to see your positive review, Mark! 🙂

Reviewed by Mark Leonard

Wow. Almost a lock, to be included in my 2015 Top Ten films of the year, “’71” is a harrowing Northern Island period actioner, set in Belfast at the height of “the Troubles” in 1971. It’s an almost unbearably tense movie, that also managed to break my heart on, at least, two occasions, with its melancholy focus on the bond between two brothers. Star Jack O’Connell made a bit of a splash here in 2014, portraying Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie’s Oscar-bait hit adaptation, “Unbroken”. I didn’t like that film very much, but O’Connell emerged unscathed. “’71” was actually playing the festival circuit in select cities before “Unbroken” made its official nationwide bow. “’71” finally got a limited official release here this past winter, and Yann Demange’s debut feature is easily the superior work.

Gary Hook (the excellent Mr. O’Connell) is a British Army soldier, and the caretaker of his…

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Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.

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Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.
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