'71 2014

Critics score:
96 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Guy Lodge, Variety: The Troubles have rarely been more troubling onscreen than they are in '71, a vivid, shivery survival thriller that turns the red-brick residential streets of Belfast into a war zone of unconscionable peril. Read more

Mike D'Angelo, AV Club: '71 rarely stops for breath; the threat of sudden violence hangs over every mundane conversation, and Demange expertly sustains the tension, allowing anxiety to build, briefly ebb, and then build again, over and over. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: O'Connell is terrific. Read more

Peter Keough, Boston Globe: When it comes to vengeance and murderous intrigue, the Belfast in " '71" is a small world. Read more

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: It's a potent, visceral experience, but it doesn't offer much historical context, and its depiction of the IRA is fairly simplistic. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: The movie excites, but intelligently, without stoking blood lust or Old Testament revenge impulses. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Within its limited compass, '71 packs a punch, and the lack of political bias does give it a more encompassing feel. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: It may not be fair to call Yann Demange a great filmmaker after just one feature, but that feature, '71, just might be a great film. Read more

Adam Graham, Detroit News: 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. Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com: Shot by first-time feature director Yann Demange on the gritty streets of Sheffield and Liverpool in a style that puts the viewer in the crosshairs of the action, '71 is bracing from beginning to end. Read more

Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly: It's only March, but this could be 2015's most invigorating directorial debut. Read more

Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter: A big part of [Demange's] achievement resides in the casting of such a veteran crew of character actors in the first place, but credit is due for coaxing such subtle performances. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: A tense thriller from Britain that so adroitly joins physical intensity, emotional authenticity and political acuity that you may find yourself forgetting to take a breath. Read more

Amy Nicholson, L.A. Weekly: Yann Demange tints the midnight alleys of Belfast like an Irish flag dragged through the mud: black skies, sickly green lamps, and the orange flames of torched cars. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: Gripping, mournful, suspenseful. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: Such is the plot's momentum ... that we scarcely notice the jolts of implausibility. Read more

Mark Jenkins, NPR: '71 may not illuminate all that much, but it consistently electrifies. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: Mr. O'Connell runs away with " '71," in which his character's every emotional, psychological and physical hurdle makes for kinetic cinema. Read more

Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer: 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. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: A private in the British army finds himself stranded on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Demange's film, spiked by an all-stops-out O'Connell, makes politics unnervingly personal. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: It's a riveting, man-on-the-run genre movie, almost a combination of "Black Hawk Down" and "After Hours," rather than an allegory or a historical treatise. Read more

John Hartl, Seattle Times: This isn't a story about religious differences. It's a thriller - gripping, almost abstract and carefully assembled by filmmakers who appear to know more about creating tension than explaining it. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: 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. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: A "war is hell" movie that won't give up. Read more

David Sims, The Atlantic: '71 makes so much effort to be suspenseful that it doesn't have much time to get into nuance. Read more

Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail: 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. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Scenes take on a surreal nightmare quality, sometimes with no accompanying sound, as even the camera seems dazed by what it is witnessing. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: The film's mix of hard-nosed realist drama with more heightened genre elements - action, certainly; horror, even - means that it's always distinctive and has you in its grip from start to finish. Read more

Liz Braun, Toronto Sun: This is a brisk, frightening movie about recent history and it's well worth a look. Read more

Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture: '71 doesn't always work, but when it does, it's a blistering, gripping tale of a boy lost in a war gone horribly wrong. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Big-screen storytelling stripped to its dramatic and visual essentials, and the result is nothing less than shattering. Read more