Rated R

1 hour 40 minutes

Jack O’Connell, Sean Harris

There’s no sugar coating those dangerous days of 1971 when the British were an unwelcome occupying force in Northern Ireland. “’71” is as realistic a re-creation of those hostilities as any movie-maker could possibly bring to the screen.

It’s seen through the eyes of one British soldier who had no idea what he was letting himself in for. Jack O’Connell, who starred in the holiday season prisoner of war epic “Unbroken”, plays the disillusioned outsider. He soon learns the intensity of their hatred for the British.

His officers explain they’re in the front line with the Catholics and Protestants living side by side with each other divided by the thinnest borderline.

The danger escalates when O’Connell’s trapped behind enemy lines, becoming a fugitive on the run from murderous gunmen.

The picture carefully avoids taking sides in the Northern Ireland conflict. But takes no prisoners depicting the ruthlessness on both sides.

O’Connell desperately tries to survive while his life depends on the struggle between Belfast’s fanatics and more moderate elements who see no sense to all the killing.

It’s the stark realism of the hostile atmosphere that gives “’71” Its edge of gripping drama. By it’s very nature, “’71” is a very  controversial political thriller.

But if there’s one thing they can all agree on, it’s that “’71” deserves 3 stars. If it’s unimaginable intensity you want, it’s unimaginable intensity you get.

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