Parents' Guide to


By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Violent British wartime thriller has strong language, peril.

Movie R 2015 99 minutes
'71 Poster Image

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A thoughtful take on an infamous period of British history, this tense thriller is equal parts art house movie and war film. In '71, O'Connell stars in one of the roles that established his rise to Hollywood. He plays Hook, an every man soldier who must overcome and then ultimately come to terms with his part in a messy war of attrition. O'Connell perfectly balances Hook's courage and vulnerability, meaning we empathize with him throughout his ordeal.

However, the setting is arguably the main character, and while English towns were used as a stand-in for Northern Ireland, the unfussy but effective production design means that we share Hook's sense of disorientation and confusion. Some suspension of disbelief is required as to why certain characters do not kill each other when they have the chance. But overall '71 excels at keeping the viewer engaged with its mix of bombast and slow-creeping dread.

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