71: Surviving The Troubles

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

This film follows Gary Hook, Jack O’Connell, a young soldier who becomes separated from his unit and finds himself having to survive the night in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

I enjoyed this film a fair bit, it kept me entertained throughout. I thought the film did a good job of maintaining its tension and it never allowed you to feel safe, or to feel like the character was safe, which also adds to the realism of the film.

In many respects this is quite a hard film to watch, there are a number of scenes that are very visceral and graphic and that will leave and impression on you afterwards. The sudden and random death of Hook’s fellow soldier early in the film being one of them, in many ways it perfectly manages to capture the murky and unpredictable nature of that part of Irish history.

Moreover, Sean Harris as the morally dubious covert intelligence officer Captain Browning is a revelation. Harris always shines through whatever he appears in and adds an uncertain edge to proceedings. I would say he comfortably out acts O’Connell here, with the latter’s rough boy charm sometimes clashing with the character he is trying to portray. For example when Hook is taking his younger brother out for the day he becomes very angry at the doorman for no explained reason, this doesn’t work when later in the film he is portrayed as the ordered and controlled soldier who would never lose his temper in a yobish sort of way. It becomes a clashing personality over the film.

Overall, a good film though more character work was needed with the construction of the lead, a fixed personality was needed rather than one that jumps around.

Pros.

Harris

The tension

Not knowing what was going to happen next

Cons.

O’ Connell

A few plot threads that are unanswered and also go nowhere

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