’71 is French television director Yann Demange’s finely crafted drama of a British soldier (Jack O’Connell) sent to Belfast to keep the peace amongst the rioting Catholics one day in 1971. After getting separated from his troop during a melee exacerbated by a child running off with a gun, he spends the next 12 hours or so fending off a band of IRA militants intent on killing him. The action is shot up close and in the dark, and the pace is perfectly nerve-wracking. More than just a “war movie,” ’71 is a thriller jammed with suspense and psychological drama that examines human nature and the instinct to survive.
(AMC River East) B+