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Jack O'Connell

Jack O’Connell

“’71” My rating: B (Opens March 20 at the Glenwood Arts)

99 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The soldier trapped behind enemy lines has long been a staple of the war film, but the new British release “’71” gives it an original and singularly deadly spin.

The place: Belfast. The time: 1971.

Private Hook (Jack O’Connell, looking about 10 years younger than he did in “Unbroken”) finds himself deployed to Northern Ireland.

“You are not leaving this country,” an officer reassures. Technically, he’s correct, for Belfast is part of the United Kingdom. But for all practical purposes Hook might as well be stationed on an alien planet filled with wildlife bent on killing him.

His immersion into the “troubles” is sudden and deadly. Doing house-to-house searches in a Catholic neighborhood, his unit is mobbed by furious locals hurling stones. Hook is surrounded and beaten, barely escaping with his life.

Meanwhile, his unit has scrambled back into their trucks and hightailed it for their barracks.  Hook is alone in enemy territory.

Here’s the problem: As a newcomer Hook can’t tell the difference between a Catholic neighborhood, where the locals would happily kill him, and a Protestant one where — in theory anyway — he can find shelter.

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