In terms of generalized plot points, the new film ’71’ looks like there’s little to it. Basically, a young soldier from the British Army gets trapped in a very dangerous Belfast in the year 1971. The film gives you very little context when it comes to exactly why there appears to be such a violent uprising in Belfast and why so many Irish want to brutally murder this British soldier. If you do some research you can learn about it pretty quickly.
Yet, I don’t think it is necessary to know the Irish backstory to enjoy this film. Even though the movie gets its title from the year of its setting, the movie could be set any time and represent any soldier caught behind enemy lines. I often found myself thinking about what would have happened in Fallujah or Kabul (during our last several wars) if one of our soldiers had been left by his or her unit. I think it might look quite a bit like this movie.
It is likely that the local government would be crooked and forced to work with our forces out of necessity. It is likely that they might secretly try to have that young man bumped off or have to make deals with local terrorists. It is likely that if a local helped the soldier then they would be in horrible danger. Bottom line, it is likely that most things that happen in this film largely mirror the world of modern anti-terrorism and urban combat. So, oddly enough, ’71’ is quite timely in 2015.
The soldier at the center of this little tale is named Gary and he is played by the exceptional newcomer Jack O’Connell. You know who I’m talking about. He’s that super talented kid from that 100 million dollar ‘Unbroken’ movie that Angelina Jolie made. Now that you remember this talented young lad, don’t forget him again. Ever! This kid is the real deal who has now managed to carry 3 films in one year. Did I mention that all those movies were good? Well, I should have, because they are. This kid is going to be a the next Michael Fassbender. Remember his name people.
Also, remember to go see this movie when you get a chance. I wouldn’t say that this movie is so good that you need to run out and see it right now or anything. You may not even see it until it comes to DVD, but be sure to see it when you get a chance. It’s a movie that will make you think about the current state of war and it might make a few of you even look into the Irish war it depicts. I may have taken slight issue with some of the loose motives and weak context, but the execution of everything else is spot on.