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.
The film's composer, David Holmes, was born in Belfast, where most of the film takes place. See more »
When the soldiers are woken to be told their overseas deployment has changed, the corporal who comes into the barracks and turns the lights on calls the room to attention when the officer enters and is then seen to be standing at ease. If he were giving the order, he too would have been standing to attention. See more »
[after Lt. Armitage told him about Sergeant Leslie Lewis attempt to kill Gary Hook]
It was a confused situation. In these circumstances, what you saw, what you think you saw, can be a very different thing to what actually happened. Do you understand?
Do you understand?
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Just out of military training, Thommo and Gary are soon on their way to Northern Ireland. "You're not going out of the country," people say to them cheerfully "so you should feel good about that." They do not feel good about this. There are burning vehicles, bombs and deafening mobs with rocks, bags of excrement and other crude weapons. This is not a good time to find yourself separated from your unit, yet Gary manages to do so. Suddenly he is alone on the streets of Belfast and in the wrong kind of green clothing. Gary is in for a long night. There are no clear lines between the U.K. military, I.R.A., paramilitary units on both sides, those just trying to help or those who will sell him to the highest bidder. Of course there is a role for luck too. Gary places his trust in a little kid who has grown up a little too quickly. The two descend into secret passageways, pouring rain and a maelstrom of violence and deception. The finely wrought film is full of intensity and realism. In all its violence and brutality there is a decent message about the intolerable toll that such violence takes on people and society. It is only on the streets of Belfast that Gary discovers he is "just a piece of meat" to those who order him around. The main actor is still a little green, and not in a sense that he is Irish but that he is just starting out. He does well though. So did the filmmakers. The director said he picked the main actor for the role after just sharing a beer with him. I wish all such interviews were so easy. "Thankfully people believed in me" said the director. Yes, thankfully! Seen at the Princess of Wales Theatre and the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
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