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Fresh from his turn playing Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Jack O’Connell portrays a British soldier dropped in the middle of a violent confrontation between the Catholics and Protestants. His squadron is inadequately prepared for the guerrilla war that erupts from the hornet’s nest. The rising tension and ensuing riots separates O’Connell’s character from the rest of his company. He is alone and lost, unarmed and injured, he’s afraid but he has the will to survive.

We don’t actually learn this soldiers name well into the movie, a deliberate move by filmmakers to focus on the conflict, though the film never explains how this conflict began. Get out your history books. In contrast to Unbroken, the intention isn’t to celebrate the heroes survival, but to show the sheer terror of war. Neither side is celebrated. By the way, his name is Gary Hook. The battered Hook receives help along the journey to safety, but it’s an unpredictably fragile system with consequences. Some of these encounters have grave results.

There’s a grime to the film and production design. Cinematography is frantic and intimate. Viewers are in for a jarring, realistic ride. Freshman filmmaker Yann Demange lets slip a few meandering drifts but for the most part delivers one heck of a punch in this military thriller noir. It also features one of the best chase scenes not involving cars.

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Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.


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