Although the film’s location, and indeed its title, is anchored in a deeply historical context – the story takes place in Belfast at the peak of the Irish troubles – this is no political lecture. We are on neither the side of the Unionists nor the IRA, instead we follow a British soldier ignorant of the politics in which he finds himself – at one point Private Hook (O’Connell) ponders whether Belfast is even ‘a part of our country’. Hook soon becomes separated from his unit and must steal his way back to base through hostile territory, increasingly aware that his combat training (in a forest) is of little use in this urban environment. Hook relies on the kindness of strangers as he flees his terrifying pursuers – a group of battle hardened republicans lead by James Quinn (Killian Scott, best known for Calvary).
Although this is Demange’s first feature, critics have lauded his ability to keep the tension mounting and the story motoring on. Neither straying into heart-warming mulch when the protagonist relies on people’s kindness, nor political moralising as he discovers more about the deep-seated sectarian hatred of that era. As for O’Connell’s performance, the more muted and sedentary character of Private Hook will intrigue those who witnessed his bristling testosterone-fuelled Eric Love in Starred Up. But if the critics are to be believed O’Connell pulls it off again and with word that he is to star in Angelina Julie’s latest directorial venture, he will surely be one to watch for the future.
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
10 Oct 14 – 10 Nov 14, 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here for more information|