Paul W.S. Anderson

''71' delivers 100% tension amid 'the Troubles' in Ireland

''71' delivers 100% tension amid 'the Troubles' in Ireland

An incendiary film that takes off like a house afire, "'71" is a tense thriller from Britain that so adroitly joins physical intensity, emotional authenticity and political acuity that you may find yourself forgetting to take a breath.

Nominated for nine British Independent Film Awards (and winning one for Yann Demange's superb directing), "'71" has a plot that couldn't be more straight ahead: a soldier, played by rising star Jack O'Connell, is caught behind enemy lines and attempts to make it back to safety. Alive.

But this is not any war; this is, as the title indicates, Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1971. That was the pivotal year when the...