Director: Yann Demange
Screenwriters: Gregory Burke

Institute History

  • 2015 Sundance Film Festival


Yann Demange’s boldly cinematic debut feature has played to overwhelming acclaim since premiering at the Berlinale.

A young British soldier, Private Hook (Jack O’Connell) is deployed to the urban war zone of Belfast, Northern Ireland—a region divided between Protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists. When his regiment enters a Catholic neighborhood and an angry riot breaks out, Hook is inadvertently left behind. Plunged into a nightmarish no-man’s-land where the distinction between friend and foe blurs, Hook struggles to simply survive the night.

Working from Gregory Burke’s superb screenplay and aided by a relentless visual energy, dissonant score, and ever-escalating tension, director Yann Demange constructs an unsettling, increasingly surreal aesthetic that beautifully echoes Hook’s disorientation and captures the tangled web of political intrigues, convoluted factions, and shifting alliances behind The Troubles. Pursued by rival republican paramilitary factions, his own army, and Ulster commanders using him to engineer a battle within the IRA, Hook is just a pawn (or as one character says, “a piece of meat”) in the larger folly of war. —J.N.

— John Nein

Screening Details

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