’71.  Rating:  4 (out of 5).  The film covers one night in the life of a young British soldier who was accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot in Belfast in 1971. Unable to tell friend from foe, he must survive the night by himself and navigate his way to safety through a deadly and foreign landscape. The film will premiere on VOD on Tuesday, July 7. The Hollywood Reporter calls it “A gripping, nightmarish journey into the end of night that augurs great things for its debutant director.”

Starring: Charlie Murphy, Jack O’Connell, Paul Anderson, Paul Popplewell, Sam Hazeldine, Sam Reid, Sean Harris
Director: Yann Demange
Rating: R
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller, War



Boston Globe writes, “Churns out dread, suspense, and hellish splendor with its derelict cityscapes and breakneck action.”

New York Post thinks, “It’s a rare film that locates viciousness and kindness on both sides of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.”

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “A gripping, nightmarish journey into the end of night that augurs great things for its debutant director.”

Chicago Sun-Times finds, “Frame by frame, ’71 is one of those intense war thrillers where you know it’s fiction, you know it’s not a documentary, and yet every performance and every conflict feels true to the history and the events of the time.”

The New York Times says, “Mr. Demange makes his feature directing debut with ’71, but he already knows how to move bodies through space and the complex choreography that he’s worked out in this movie is a thing of joy.”

Chicago Tribune notes, “The success of “’71” can be measured this way: It presents both sorts of ugliness, plus a redeeming grace note or two, humanizing the carnage of the Troubles with nary a speck of sentimentality.”

The New Yorker thinks, “As the camera darts down alleyways, or prowls the housing projects where soldiers fear to tread, what really concerns Demange — and what lends such a kick to O’Connell’s performance, on the heels of “Starred Up” and “Unbroken” — is the bewilderment and the panic that await us, whoever we may be, in limbo.”

Christian Science Monitor writes, “Within its limited compass, ’71 packs a punch, and the lack of political bias does give it a more encompassing feel.”

Entertainment Weekly gives the film a B+ rating, and further notes, “It’s only March, but this could be 2015’s most invigorating directorial debut.”

Los Angeles Times says, “Nothing is extraneous, no moment that doesn’t enhance the tension of this nightmare scenario is allowed to survive, until the proceedings become, in the best possible sense, almost unbearable to watch.”

New York Magazine (Vulture) observes, “Whenever the film focuses on Gary, it’s O’Connell’s show. And the actor’s ability to quietly express a whole range of emotions with his body language and his eyes, is staggering — especially since, for much of the film, he’s limping and covered in blood.”

Philadelphia Inquirer gives the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, and further notes, “1971 is a testament to a generation’s idealism, heroism, foolhardiness, fearlessness.”

According to Variety, the film is “A vivid, shivery survival thriller that turns the red-brick residential streets of Belfast into a war zone of unconscionable peril.”

Village Voice calls it “[An] excellent, tensely controlled thriller.”

Wall Street Journal writes, “Yann Demange’s ’71, with an astonishing performance by Jack O’Connell, is big-screen storytelling stripped to its dramatic and visual essentials, and the result is nothing less than shattering.”

Arizona Republic says, “Demange’s busy camera is effective in conveying the chaos swirling around Hook. If we can’t always tell exactly what’s going on, neither can Hook. It ratchets up the tension considerably.”

Austin Chronicle thinks, “Take the politics out and you’d still have a powerhouse action film. But please, don’t take the politics out.”

The Globe and Mail finds, “Republicans or loyalists, Catholics or Protestants – this film is not about political or religious trenches. People died, but it’s more than the bombs, bullets and bodies. The more fascinating damage was done to psyches and souls, and Demange, with ’71, comes for yours.”

According to The Telegraph, “The film’s stark realism and bruising impact are enough in themselves, but the risk, and the real artistic payoff, is its bold sensory plunge into this Hadean inferno.”

The Guardian writes, “It’s a film that holds you in a vice-like grip throughout; only wavering towards the end with a faintly preposterous climactic shootout.”

CineVue says,”’71 is a pulse-raising actioner that stumbles a little in navigating the typically hazardous political terrain.”

Empire Online gives the movie 4 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “The villainy is, perhaps unavoidably, somewhat signposted, but this is a tense, gripping thriller that combines real-world relevance with high-concept entertainment. In a superb ensemble, O’Connell is outstanding.”

IndieWire finds, “’71 constantly thrills without sensationalizing its surprises. The war-is-hell ethos drives it forward, so that the movie retains its suspense in conjunction with its dour outlook.”

RogerEbert.com says, “Last seen in “Starred Up” and Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken,” O’Connell continues to bring equal measures of toughness and vulnerability to his characters. Despite his good looks, there’s an everyman’s quality to him, which he uses to full effect in ’71.”

Rolling Stone thinks, “Demange’s film, spiked by an outstanding, all-stops-out O’Connell, makes politics unnervingly personal. Too much? What else do you expect of a cinematic knockout punch that sends you reeling?”

Salon.com says, “It’s a riveting, man-on-the-run genre movie, almost a combination of “Black Hawk Down” and “After Hours,” rather than an allegory or a historical treatise.”

Slant Magazine finds, “It distinguishes itself from Pual Greengrass’s films by virtue of its close attention to political and moral ambiguities.”

A.V. Club gives the movie a B+ rating, and further notes, “The setting may be Belfast ’71, but Demange’s sensibility — first-rate suspense coupled with black-and-white politics — is much more James Cameron ’86.”

The Dissolve writes, “A master class in structure, a meticulously constructed period piece, a powerful anti-war film, and rarest of all, a thriller whose tension and suspense feel genuinely earned.”

According to IndieWire (The Playlist), “‘71 is more than just a performance showcase, delivering a gripping, at times almost unbearably tense, incredibly involving anti-war statement, made the stronger for being set against the less cinematically familiar backdrop of Belfast in the year 1971.”

Time Out London finds, “Demange is a strong storyteller and masks the script’s tendency to nod to every opinion and social division by offering a masterclass in tension as soon as his dramatic bomb starts ticking.”

Total Film gives the movie 4 out of 5 stars, and further writes, “A brutal army thriller that feels like the truth, thanks to take-noprisoners storytelling and a tell-no-lies performance from Jack O’Connell, Brit-grit’s heir apparent.”

Movie Nation thinks, “It’s an intricate, intimate thriller about a single soldier’s nightmare day and night on the front lines.”


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