Last year, to watch Starred Up and frankly, I couldn't care less about it. After all, gritty British crime dramas are a pound a penny in this lucrative business the idea of immersing myself for two hours in the world of prison fights and threats put me off. As for Jack O’Connell, I had loved him in Skins as Cook (loved him too much, some might say,) as well as his bit roles. Because sometimes, seeing actors typecast is a massive shame. Eating my words, Starred Up really delved into tentative and dark places with a knock out performance by Jack O’Connell; astute, emotive and intellectual. And since, my obsession with the young actor has sky-rocketed.
Thankfully, this trend has continued in '71 and boy, aren't we glad it's out on DVD today.
The main draw of ’71, which you may already be aware of as people are still raving about it is the completely sublime Jack O’Connell. His frankly stirring performance here strips back the plot to become this tentative film about survival. The minute you are focused on his tale, you are absorbed because O’Connell demands it. Astute and visceral, O’Connell is determined to layer Hook with these layers of emotion and fear. While, arguably, O’Connell does showcase his hard-nut formula that has kept him on the radar for so long, he actually gives Hook a depth of innocence and naivety despite his anger and rage, past and present. The performance here is stunning and simply enthrals you.
The film is only marred by a few shaky camera movements and a bit of a twist in the plot that unneeded and unnecessary because the initial drama helps pull you along the rest of the film. That being said, with a collection of stellar acting from the cast such as Sam Reid and Sean Harris. This is unforgettable and with moral ambiguity on both sides of the violence, you’ll find your bum firmly on the edge of your seat.
What Do You Think?
Or does it miss the mark?
Read our Jack O'Connell Rising Star piece now!
'71 is out on DVD & Blu-Ray today!