So, whilst I try to muster up the enthusiasm to go and watch Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) (I do like the first two films but I can’t see how anyone will really care next year) and Interstellar (2014) continues to blow people away, my local cinema rather randomly sneaked Yann Demange’s ’71 into their schedule so I just had to go and watch it. It would be rude not to.
’71 is John Carpenter in it’s simplicity and intelligence. A British soldier gets left behind after a house search provokes a small riot in Belfast. The stakes are immediately upped with a cold blooded execution and it’s life and death from that point on. But it’s also smart in it’s representation of a political, social and violent mess. You can see where people are coming from, how their decisions are made and what their actions create. This is tense and tense and made even better by a refusal to supply much context, a decision that makes the story more universal and immediate.
Jack O’Connell is once again brilliant in the central role.
After the ‘teaser’ I tend to avoid trailers for films that I want to see. I know that I want to see them so what’s the point of seeing a collection of the good bits? And it pays off.
Interstellar is an enthralling piece of cinema. It harks back to the vintage sci-fi of ideas and pioneer adventure and is full of giant vistas, high drama and breathless set-pieces. It’s got dystopia (interestingly, what we see seems to have an Orwellian leftist flavour rather than the usual right-wing stooges – this is Nolan after all) and natural disaster because if you’re going to go big make sure you go big.
It’s also, despite Nolan’s usual detachment and thanks to an incredible cast, a touching human story focusing on parents and children. In this respect, McConaughey, Chastain, Hathaway and Mackenzie Foy are the stars but the likes of Jon Lithgow and Bill Irwin, the latter bringing real character to one of the most fascinating movie robots in a long time, make this movie solid… and William Devane is in it. William Devane! If there is one criticism it’s that the appearance of ‘names’ did occasionally disrupt the immersion… I guess that’s my fault for not watching those trailers etc, but those few moments are worth the trade of seeing such stunning images for the first time.