71 follows an English soldier from Derby who is sent to Northern Ireand in order to stop the republican militants. During 1971 an operation was set up called Op Demetrius which tasked the army to arrest those involved in violence. The film doesn’t really go into this and it mainly looks at soldiers trying to quell the violence. The Corp of soldiers head onto the streets of Northern Ireland and are attacked meaning they had to flee the area. Unfortunately two soldiers are left behind and they receive the most brutal attack. The camera doesn’t shy away from the sheer violence of the subject and we as an audience see the blood, screams and hatred very close up.
The English soldier Jack O’Connell is in fear for his life in an area where there is so much hatred against the soldiers. Where can he turn? Who can he trust? Can he even trust those on his own side? You really feel his fear and its almost like watching a child who as been left alone to fend for themselves. The soldier has to cope with his injuries, but does receive help from a family and a young boy. You see the devastating affects of the bombing on the innocent, you hear their screams, see their tears, watch their blood spill and fear for their future.
The acting throughout is brilliant and really makes your heart raise a beat. You will the soldier out of this horrific situation. You want those responsible to feel the harsh pain of justice and that’s from both sides. Sadly the English do not make the best choice to bring peace to the nation as was proven by their acts in 1971 when they chose torture to get the information. You also want the young and foolish who get tied up in the war to come to their senses and get away unharmed, but of course that rarely happens. The film is gritty and dark and doesn’t hold back with the emotions felt by all involved. The production is by Film 4 and I have found that many of the films they deliver are of real class and this film is no different.