'71 makes so much effort to be suspenseful that it doesn't have much time to get into nuance.
The film doesn't take sides, but shows how conflict stirs the pot of human emotions and how quickly things can get out of control. And it shows that in war, no one is right.
Demange's feature debut miraculously distills the often Byzantine nature of the power politics behind The Troubles in a deeply intimate chamber piece about a single day in the life of a British soldier.
People died, but it's more than the bombs, bullets and bodies. The more fascinating damage was done to psyches and souls, and Demange, with '71, comes for yours.
The movie excites, but intelligently, without stoking blood lust or Old Testament revenge impulses.
If you are in the mood for a confusing and thoroughly depressing immersion into Irish history, you can't do better. But that would be a very odd mood to be in.
A "war is hell" movie that won't give up.
When it comes to vengeance and murderous intrigue, the Belfast in " '71" is a small world.
O'Connell is terrific.