Starring Jack O'Connell, Richard Dormer and Sean Harris
Directed by Yann Demange
UK 2014
99 minutes

Last month I went to Belfast for the first time. It is a city that features powerfully in my memories of growing up in the 1970s - grainy TV reports filled with barricades, checkpoints, soldiers and mobs. It seemed a far off, bleak place blighted by blind religious prejudice and tribal hatred - trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of violence and recrimination.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself in a modern European city - full of cafes and artworks, prosperous and seemingly free of the past. Of course the many powerful murals still pay testimony to the bad times but Belfast as war zone is no more...

In '71 that period is recreated with nerve shredding results. Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) is a new recruit to the British army on his first tour of duty. After being caught up in a riot Hook becomes separated from his unit and finds himself trapped behind Republican lines. He must somehow get back to safety but who, if anyone, can he trust to help him?

Director Yann Demange does not take sides but instead concentrates on amping up the tension - aided by a terrific score from native Belfast boy David Holmes and the edgy, eerie visuals of cinematographer Tat Radcliffe. The screenplay by playwright Gregory Burke (who penned the extraordinary Black Watch for the National Theatre Of Scotland) twists and turns as the action takes us into the murky depths of the conflict.

At the centre Jack O'Connell gives a powerful, eloquent, physical performance - confirming his place as one of the most gifted young actors of his generation.