[Picture of projector]

Laramie Movie Scope:
'71

British soldier left behind in Belfast battles

[Strip of film rule]
by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

(2014) New British recruits in training are called to emergency duty in Belfast, Ireland. Among them, Private Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) from Derbyshire, pays a visit to his younger brother in an orphanage before deploying. Under the command of Lt Armitage (Sam Reid), the platoon receives instructions about the conflict between hostile Catholics versus loyalist Protestants with a warning: "Do not enter the Flats. Very dangerous. IRA stronghold."

Countermanding his NCOs' preference for riot gear, Lt Armitage says he intends to "reassure people" by the men wearing their berets. Kids hurl rocks and bottles when the convoy arrives; women bang the lids of garbage cans in protest of a raid by police, searching houses for guns, while the soldiers try to hold back a growing mob of angry Irish Catholics.

When a British soldier gets knocked to the ground, struck by a stone, a boy grabs his rifle and runs off. Hook and Thompson (Jack Lowden) pursue the child, get separated from the others and attacked by a couple of young men. As a woman attempts to protect them from being severely beaten, Thompson is shot in the head; the convoy retreats, leaving Hook behind.

During the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland in 1971, the British employed covert units, Military Reaction Force (MRF), for tracking down, arresting, or assassinating those suspected of being in the Irish Republican Army. In this dramatic thriller, directed by Yann Demange from Gregory Burke's screenplay: "It was a confused situation."

Chased by Sean Bannon (Barry Keoghan) and James Quinn (Killian Scott), Hook flees, eluding them when he ducks into a toilet. Later in the dark, after removing his field jacket, he wanders out into the streets. A Protestant "wee man" child rescues Gary, cursing the "Fenian bastards" he hopes to kill, taking him back ("What else are you going to do?") to his uncle, Jake Fullerton, at a pub.

"You're safe in here," assures the uncle just before a bomb explodes, knocking Hook off his feet and gashing his side. A father and daughter notice Hook lying unconscious on the sidewalk. "We can't help him," says Brigid (Charlie Murphy) to her da. "We have to," Eamon McCarthy (Richard Dormer) replies.

They carry him to their flat in Divis. In Brigid's bed, Hook lies in agony, the girl holding him down while her father, formerly a medic in the Army, sews up the wound. Recognizing him as a British soldier, they as Catholics realize the danger of their being discovered with the enemy in their care.

Instead of calling Quinn, Eamon phones Boyle (David Wilmot); but Quinn with Sean and two others are seeking to kill Boyle, part of the factional fighting occurring among the Catholics. "This is what being a gunman means," Quinn says to Sean: "Pull the trigger."

Capt Sandy Browning (Sean Harris) and Sgt Leslie Lewis (Paul Anderson) of MRF along with soldiers for backup search for Hook in hopes of cleaning up Lt Armitage's mistake. The situation gets only messier and bloodier.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2015 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
 
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
   
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)