71′ (Yann Demange, 2014): United Kingdom.

Reviewed By Vanessa Rason. Viewed at the AFI film fest.

71′ by Yann Demange is not your typical war film. The movie  stars Jack O’Connel as Gary Hook, a young impressionable British soldier and father to a young boy. While the films title and trailer would suggest it is like your average war movie actually  it is far from it.  His group gets sent to Bellfast, a  irish community in turmoil at the due to it’s desire for independence and differences between opposing religious parties ( protestants and catholics) . When the riot goes array and one soldier is shot , the rest of the unit retreats and leaving behind Hook . This film follows hook through the dangerous streets of Bellfast through hiding, running, searching, fighting and recovering and just trying to make it through the night.

The difference between this and other war films is the lack of war. It feels more like a story of a man trying to survive a long night in a danger. There are no exaggerated acts of heroism like those that prove common in other war movies, but instead subtleties of good character and many acts of good samaritism, helping thy fellow man, as they may have coined it. A young boy encounters hook and leads him through the violent corrupt broken city right up to the revolutionary leaders, Hook helps the young boy from a fire, we never know if he recovers,  by-passers noted hook injured on the street, a former army medic couldn’t help but pick him up and save him from bleeding to death. There was a humanizing feel of the film. Once the father and daughter realize who he is, a British Soldier,  they can no longer keep him afraid, dangerous extreme nationalists would find out and persecute them for housing a brit. The story turns when we find out that some of the rebel leaders are in cohorts with the brit FBI staff and communicate among each other on the status of Private Hook. There are many deeper themes such as moral  concerning the truth behind the final recovery of Hook,  the discretion and corruption of the military.

 

This movie was across the board good. There was suspense, violence, cinematographic scenes of sunsets and explosions.  Though at times some of the accents could be incomprehensible, the actors authenticity was a hugely enriching factor in viewing the film,

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