A small time thief from Belfast, Gerry Conlon, is falsely implicated in the IRA bombing of a pub that kills several people while he is in London. Bullied by the British police, he and four of his friends are coerced into confessing their guilt. Gerry's father and other relatives in London are also implicated in the crime. He spends 15 years in prison with his father trying to prove his innocence with the help of a British attorney, Gareth Peirce. Based on a true story. Written by
Liza Esser <email@example.com>
Like MIDNIGHT EXPRESS , IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER is a an extremely well made film , but like MIDNIGHT EXPRESS much of it is total invention . Reviewers on this page have already pointed out the numerous errors such as Guiseppe and Gerry Conlon never being imprisoned in the same jail or the " Guilford four " and " Mcguire seven " trials taking place in completely seperate court cases but no one seems to have pointed out the erroneous backgrounds this film paints of Gerry Conlon and Paul Hill. In their book THE PROVISIONAL IRA authors Patrick Bishop and Eamon Mallie state the facts quite clearly that Paul Hill was a member of the Belfast brigade of the provisonal IRA ( And Hill later did confess to being a member ) while Conlon had been a member of Na Fianna Eireann which is the youth section of the provisionals though Conlon was quickly kicked out ( Literally ) due to his heavy drinking and drug taking . They didn`t meet on the ferry as shown in the film but Conlon bumped into Hill in Southampton where Hill was staying . What was Hill doing in Southampton ? He was on the run from the IRA who wanted to question him about guns going missing and about the possibility of Hill being an informer , something that is always punishable in IRA ranks with death and prior torture . When Conlon returned to Belfast in December 1974 he did drunkenly mention to IRA acquaintances in pubs that he`d met Hill in England and in order to punish Hill for his suspected crimes against the organisation and to take the heat off their own cells active in Britain at the time it was the IRA themselves who deliberately leaked the false information to the intelligence services about Conlon and Hill being involved in the Guilford bombings , not as the film shows a jealous boyfriend . Hill was also later found guilty of the murder of a former soldier though is never shown in the film and it`s this playing hard and loose with the facts that almost threatens to destroy the film . It could have been worse though , there might have been the suggestion that the bombing could have been a mass suicide
Well that`s the bad points out of the way . What`s IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER`s good points ? Well Jim Sheridan directs with a real kinetic force especially the early scene where Conlon is pursued by the Brits against a voodoo chile soundscape . Sheridan also gets the very best out of his cast . Emma Thompson is good as the crusading lawyer , Pete Postlethwaite is very good as Guiseppe Conlon , but the outstanding performance is by Daniel Day Lewis as Gerry Conlon . Has anyone noticed the bitter Irony of a film about injustice features one of the greatest injustices commited by the Oscar board voters where they gave that year`s best actor Oscar to a very average performance by Tom Hanks ? No wonder more and more people view the Oscars as a popularity contest . And despite my above criticisms about the facts - or lack of them - IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER can in no way be described as a pro IRA film in the way that THE DEVIL`S OWN or SOME MOTHER`S SON are
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