Why you need ’71 in your collection

Marking the directorial debut from Yann Demange, ’71 was one of the finest films so far this year. It’s released on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital tomorrow and here’s why you need to add it to your collection: 

Starring Jack O’Connell (who was sensational in the brutal Starred Up), ’71 is incredibly intense. The narrative is straightforward enough, yet the film does an impressive job of giving a microcosmic illustration of this complex political situation. Private Gary Hook (O’Connell) is a young, raw recruit sent to Belfast during a particularly bad period of the troubles. He is accidentally abandoned by his unit when a riot on the streets descends further into carnage and, not knowing who to trust or how to get back to his barracks, must survive the night alone and find his way to safety.

There is a moment, shortly after the riot happens, that is so shocking it sucks all the air out of your lungs. From this occurrence onwards, the bubbling level of tension escalates into something almost stomach-churningly unbearable. It remains like this for the rest of the film.

71 perfectly balances exhilarating action with genuine melancholy at the futility of war and the tragic deaths of those who get swept up in the fight. This gripping film is a reminder of the fragility of life and is an astonishing piece of work.

See it from the comfort of your sofa from tomorrow. It’s worth having in your collection because, quite simply, this outstanding film deserves repeated viewings.

’71 comes out on Blu-Ray, DVD & Digital on 22 July

bobby townsend


Words by Bobby Townsend.