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"'71":A Deadly Game of Cat and Mouse 

Wednesday, Mar 11 2015
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If getting beaned with water balloons thrown by Northern Irish children is the worst thing to happen when you're a British soldier during the Troubles, then you're doing all right. However, newbie soldier Gary (Jack O'Connell) does not do all right in Yann Demange's '71, as he gets left behind by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast. Gary's goal becomes to survive the night, and while the setup seems to be that of a standard action movie – the film is bathed in the dirty browns and yellows that dominate modern first person-shooter video games, and occasional long shots of Belfast at night with fires raging in the distance evoke Los Angeles 2019 in Blade Runner – he's a passive hero, mostly getting buffeted along by events and people beyond his control. But '71 is no less of a deadly game of cat and mouse for that, focusing more on the other players in this very bad night, particularly Boyle (David Wilmot), an undercover British agent with period-appropriate but hideous hair and a truly unspeakable moustache, and a foul-mouthed Loyalist boy (Corey McKinley) who's growing up way too fuckin' fast. Previous knowledge of the Troubles is helpful but not necessary, though watching '71 with subtitles is recommended if possible, because the accents are Trainspotting-thick.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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