Watch ’71, an excellent British war film, on Netflix or Amazon

Every Monday, Art House Film Wire looks for great movies that you can watch from home, and with Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” storming into theatres on July 21, let’s look at another excellent British war film, “’71” (2015).  

“’71” (2015) – Tensions between Ireland and Great Britain, of course, have been well-documented for hundreds of years, but director Yann Demange focuses his time on a conflict just 46 years into the past.

ground-level street war in the battered and beaten down brick of Belfast brings violence and anger between Catholics and Protestants, who are failing to live side-by-side in peace.  When the British army engages the area to provide calm, chaos instead erupts, and Pvt. Gary Hook (Jack O’Connell) finds himself behind enemy lines, desperately trying to survive and return to his company.    

The main problem, however, is that double-crosses are everywhere.  With sides separated by religion only, it becomes extremely difficult to pinpoint allies vs. enemies.  Demange makes it equally tricky on the audience with a script littered with sly, subtle dialogue and two actors who look virtually identical.  I was confused, but that’s the point.  O’Connell leads this visceral and effective war movie fought in blue collar neighborhoods with danger seemingly looming in every dark alley and lurking behind each closed door.  (Netflix DVD only; Amazon Prime Streaming)

⭐ ⭐ ⭐  1/2    out of ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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