Monday, March 23, 2015


             Belfast Ireland, 1971. British troops have been brought in to keep the peace during this violent time in Ireland's history between the Catholic and Protestant  Irish. This is the story of Gary Hook, a British soldier played by Jack O'Connell,  separated from his unit during a riot and trying to survive one long night in hostile surroundings.

              Mr. O'Donnell recently starred in "Unbroken" and here once again, he is a solider behind enemy lines battered, bruised and trying to stay alive. As an actor, Mr. O'Connell is a glutton for punishment but to his credit, he leaves it all out on the screen in a raw, visceral performance.

               Director Yann DeMange ratchets up the tension in every scene. The film plays like a horror movie except the danger is not some supernatural threat but rather working class people engaged in a  political, religious, and violent conflict. Not knowing who to trust, danger lurks around every corner for Hook and death can occur at anytime, often quickly without warning. His disorientation and fear is absorbed by the viewer, heightened by an intense score and terrific camera work.

               The film doesn't take sides or try to make a political statement. Even if you know nothing about the Irish "Troubles" of the period, this intense thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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