Belfast, 1971; troops fresh out of training are sent on a mission that turns into a riot and one of the soldiers (Jack O’Connell) is accidentally left behind. The director’s first feature film has a documentary feel to it in its quest to depict just how deadly the streets of Belfast used to be during the Troubles. The relationships are complicated and treacherous, the violence can be random, but there’s also organization behind the fierce resistance facing the British soldiers. Yann Demange and his team make us believe just how intimidating it would be if we were in the lead character’s situation. O’Connell is excellent and we root for him in this grim, taut thriller.
2014-Britain. 99 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Robin Gutch, Angus Lamont. Directed by Yann Demange. Screenplay: Gregory Burke. Cinematography: Tat Radcliffe. Cast: Jack O’Connell (Gary Hook), Sean Harris (Sandy Browning), Sam Reid (Armitage), Paul Anderson, Charlie Murphy, David Wilmot.
Last word: “I wanted to make a film that was true to the politics, without being too polemical or taking people to school, but that also appealed to my niece and nephew who are 20 years old. From the outset we made sure we engaged with the shades of grey in this conflict. Writer Gregory Burke and producer Angus Lamont are both Scottish and they taught me a lot about sectarian divides. They took me on a lot of research trips to meet people who were active on both sides. I grew up in Streatham so to an extent The Troubles were white noise for me.” (Demange, Screen)