After extensive training young British solider Gary Hook is sent to the streets of Belfast in 1971, in an effort to contain the terrifying riots. After a confrontation, Gary finds himself accidentally abandoned by his unit in a hostile environment. Unable to tell who is friend and who is foe, Gary attempts to survive the night, navigating to safety in this deadly environment. Yann Demange's 71' is an electric action/thriller that keeps the viewer on their toes from start to finish. The film does a great job at creating a sense of uncertainty, with Gary unable to trust anyone in this hostile landscape. Perhaps the great achievement of 71' is its ability to capture the dynamic of the times, presenting a conflict where nothing is black and white and any semblence of peace seems almost impossible to obtain, due to both sides deep-rooted beliefs in what they are fighting for. No ones hands are clean in this conflict and 71' doesn't shy away from showing violence, an important concept given the film's storyline, reminding the viewer what death looks like and the cost of such a conflict. Yann Demange's 71' is also an angry film about the beauracracy of conflict, arguing that the men and women of the armed forces are nothing more than a pieces of meat for bureaucrats. Fast-paced, intense and well crafted, 71' is a poignant study of a certain period in time.
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