A young British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a terrifying riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Unable to tell friend from foe, the raw recruit must survive the night alone and find his way to safety through a disorienting, alien and deadly landscape.
Jack O'Connell plays Gary, the stray soldier, running for his life through the streets of Belfast during the all but quiet riot of '71. His buddy's just been bashed to death by bricks, someone stole his gun, a bar blows up, a kid who led him away is caught in the blast, he's struck with debris and as he stumbles on they're right on his tail. Eventually, he kills a man. It's not one of those war-movies with a constant slaughter and all-out carnage, but when something does happen... it leaves a mark. It's a brutal story, with focus on build-up and preparation, often accompanied by psychedelically tribal music that pumps up the atmosphere till it really starts to weigh you down or wring your nerves.
The first chase of the movie was something else. You really fled in the footsteps of the main character. Everything feels suspenseful, gritty and uncomfortable, and most of all it feels authentic. The streets might not seem like a war zone, at times they're all empty, lines of brick houses and a burning car at a fork in the road. But that just makes it all the scarier.
The plot isn't complicated, but often unexpected. The way people react and act reminds you they're human; the lack of predictability in what people say and do makes it feel all the realer. Gunshots and explosions feel real, and the early chase takes you along for the ride. Overall it's an atmospherically and authentically told story of a guy who just so happens to be a soldier, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and most of it takes place during one long, dark night, a fire burning in the distance. This was real close to getting a 5, but there is this one moment towards the end where the authenticity floated away a bit... so, four it'll have to be. Great watch.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle