We originally posted this review for ’71 back in March and you may have noticed we here at Salty are HUGE Jack O’Connell fans. Personally, LOVE the guy and his work and his rawness and aggression. Well celebration time is in order dear poppers, the amazeballs peeps at Entertainment One have goodies for us to giveaway…


….And to celebrate you can win one of 3x copies of ’71 on Blu Ray – sooooooooo cool. You will love this one. Huge thanks to my peeps at eOneANZ!!!


’71 is a movie I am desperate to see, a brutal, raved-about English abandoned soldier survival tale starring the meteoric rising Jack O’Connell – one of my acting faves ever since SKINS, then he nailed it in STARRED UP and then recently starred in Angelina’s UNBROKEN – he also has three other movies in stages of development – O’Connell is about to become a leading A-lister!! I was away for this one so you get the other Kernel who loves O’Connell – Andrew also recognises genius – so without more JK babble enjoy Kernel Andrew’s review. ’71 is rated MA15+ and runs for 100mins. Don’t just take our bragging on it – ’71 is rated at a whopping 98% on Rotten Tomatoes from 99 votes – that is nearly unheard of. All the best……..JK.





’71 is acclaimed TV director Yann Demange’s debut feature. It takes place over the period of one night in the life of a young British soldier who is left stranded by his unit after a riot in a Catholic neighbourhood in Belfast. Known collectively around the World as “The Troubles” this often harrowing graphic account of this period in Northern Ireland has rarely been shown with such dramatic tension.

Jack O’Connell gives another brilliant performance as Gary Hook, a teenage orphan who was raised, along with his brother (Harry Verity), who is still in an orphanage. To escape this life, which he obviously hated, Gary joins the military. Things seem to be going well, his new life suits him well. He is an exceptional soldier, as various scenes from a montage, show us quite early on. Expecting a relatively easy first assignment Hook’s platoon are informed that instead of being sent to Germany (for all intents a vacation) they will be sent on an emergency peacekeeping exercise to Belfast. The friction between Protestant Loyalists and Catholic Nationalists (who have splintered between the IRA and more radical elements) has reached boiling point with violence and murder a daily occurrence.




After a routine house raid in the Catholic part of town descends into a full scale riot with the local residents, Hook’s unit is lucky to make it out alive. The soldiers beat a hasty retreat under both gunshot and pelted rock. The retreat is so hasty that Hook and fellow soldier Thommo (Jack Lowden) are left behind. Thommo is shot dead by two IRA youths and Hook is beaten within an inch of his life. Facing the same fate as his comrade he is saved by older members of the neighbourhood. Seeing his opportunity he barely escapes into the backstreets.

From here the audience is treated to a highly tense, dynamic and many-angled point of view tale of survival and manhunt. We see the after affects played out from a variety of perspectives and viewpoints. Hook is being looked for by his commanding lieutenant Armitage (Sam Reid), his IRA attackers and the Military Reaction Force, a covert intelligence branch of the British Army who have been running Belfast as a law unto themselves. They are now fearful of what Hook may learn the longer he spends in the wrong part of town. Along the way Hook is helped by both Catholic and Protestant, chiefly by a Catholic ex-army medic (Richard Dormer) and a foul-mouthed pre-teen Loyalist (Corey McKinley).




Gregory Burke, who has already plumbed this territory before in his multi-award winning stage play BLACK WATCH keeps the politics quite ambiguous. This is not a simple story of good vs bad but rather grey vs grey, the plot keeps bubbling along until the final crescendo. Special mention must be given to Tat Radcliffe, whose fantastic camerawork is a mix of film and digital (film for the day and digital for the night). This gives a real palpable nuance to both the ruined day time streets and haunted faces as well as the crisp eerie darkness.

The short time-frame and explosive finale make ’71 a fantastic and terse survival thriller. The tight focus on just one man’s story and that of the people he interacts with makes for absolutely riveting viewing. Chris Oddy’s remarkable production design makes a surreal warren of blind alleys, bombed-out corridors and former terraced houses of the Northern Irish capital which have now become a nightmarish battleground of ideologies.


'71 Movie Image


The saving grace is this idea of politics as a convenient tool for a power play in human emotion. There are no real winners and losers in this conflict. In fact both sides, Catholic and Protestant, are seen committing unspeakable evil as well as moments of all too human compassion. This is not a narrative of heroic soldiers versus evil terrorists. It is much more subtle than that and makes this movie much more important from many standpoints.

My final praise must be given to O’Connell. He continues to impress and is an excellent actor. Much like his brilliant performance in STARRED UP, he’s an intense and very physical performer. There is however this beautiful thoughtfulness and vulnerability to him that makes it all the more realistic and poignant. I see a big future for this young actor especially if he keeps picking movies which challenge both himself as an artist and us as viewers.


4 Pops


With special thanks to eOneANZ to win one of the 3X Blu Rays of ’71 you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage), you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following questions:

What is your favourite escape movie and why? Hmmmm – this can be taken many ways. Pending on which way I may go THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE TOWERING INFERNO, DIE HARD, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, THE GREAT ESCAPE – now based on the films listed – my favourite film out of those would be…………….THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE – so so so so sorry John McClane!!!

If you do not have social media then get with the times – you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent on or after July 22nd! Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.



When asked what is good in life? Kernel Andrew will tell you film, music and beer is all you need. Equal parts Star Wars fanboy, sci-fi nerd, horror-head, comic book tragic and Playstation fanatic. You can find him ranting on these things and others on his twitter feed @abrusentsev


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