Monday, 2 February 2015
· I have just watched the film 71 about a young British soldier that gets left behind by his comrades after a botched patrol in Belfast. I read a few bad comments about the film on a Northern Ireland veteran’s web site on Facebook, from veterans who served there. Having served in Northern Ireland and Belfast myself I was keen to watch it. This is not a Hollywood Blockbuster type movie with money to burn on special effects and big name movie stars and in my opinion it was all the better for it. They only had one old Bedford Army truck and land rover and an APC, all used in the 70s. From what I saw of the uniform they were wearing it looked ok for the time. They used the same rifles I used over there the 7.62mm SLR, the only difference I noticed was that the rifle slings were kept on the rifle and not attached to the wrist as we used them in the 80s. When a soldier in the film was knocked unconscious by the mob, its was easily stolen by a young kid. Filming began on location in Blackburn, Lancashire in April 2013 and continued in Sheffield and Liverpool and for me this didn't spoil the effects, I mean they couldn't really make the movie on the streets of Belfast could they? I think the producers captured that feeling of impending violence and the sectarian friction between the communities. I sure if I had served in the early 70s I would be picking the film to pieces, but I didn't and on the whole I enjoyed the film and was never bored at any time, I was desperate to see what happened to the young soldier who Jack O’Connell played very well. Overall eight out of ten.