While he might not be gracing the cover of magazines just yet, by the time 2014 is over, Jack O’Connell should be. The actor has steadily been earning buzz from his breakout role on “Skins,” his appearance in “This Is England” and his star-making turn in the forthcoming prison drama “Starred Up” (read our rave review here). With roles in “300: Rise On An Empire” and Angelina Jolie‘s awards season contender “Unbroken,” you’re going to see a lot more of him over the next twelve months. In fact, at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival, a new movie is arriving providing a fresh showcase for his talent.
O’Connell leads director Yann Demange‘s war drama ” ’71.” Penned by Gregory Burke, the film is set in — you guessed it — 1971, in Northern Ireland, where an English recruit is called to Belfast where he gets between the battling Protestants and Catholics. Here’s the official synopsis:
1971, and the conflict in Northern Ireland is escalating towards civil war. Young English recruit Gary is called into action in Belfast. The situation in the city is confusing and challenging – even for experienced military commanders. The town is divided into ‘loyal’ Protestant and ‘hostile’ Catholic areas. Both parties have paramilitary units; in addition, radical street gangs and undercover agents from all sides are trying to assert their interests on their own initiative. During a patrol, the soldiers become embroiled in a scuffle and one of them loses their weapon. Gary and a fellow soldier follow the thief who disappears into the crowd. Suddenly Gary is having to fend for himself alone in the midst of enemy territory. His journey back to his base that night is an odyssey filled with uncertainty, fear and desperation. Director Yann Demange exposes the futility of war in which every act of violence only breeds more violence. An existentialist nocturne about hidden identities, creeping paranoia and those forced to take a stand. As the film progresses, it gradually breaks free from specifics to become a more universal anti-war parable.
The exclusive poster below says it all about the film, which is on our list of the 10 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2014 Berlin Film Festival. Check it out along with a clip, a handful of images from the movie.