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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Whiskey in the Jar
Performed by Thin Lizzy
Composer/Writer Phil Lynott (as Lynott) / Eric Bell (as Bell) / Brian Downey (as Downey)
Publisher Polygram Music Publishing Ltd.
(P) 1972 Decca Record Co. Ltd.
Courtesy of Polygram Record Operations Ltd. See more »
What a clever film this was. Quite modest yet remarkably entertaining. Instead of blaring political bias, viewers are treated to a compassionate human drama without the preachings and irritating banter of most other "social dramas" (Dog Day Afternoon, All the President's Men, Norma Rae). It's shameful that this film didn't receive at least two academy awards, despite it having been nominated for 7. Now considering that this was the same year that Schindler's List and The Piano, two outstanding dramas, were released, it isnt surprising nor unreasonable that they beat In the Name of the Father for many of the awards.
The acting in this film is terrific. Lewis is low key and quite effective as the petty Irish thief Gerry Conlon. Pete Postlethwaite is spectacular as Gerry's father Guiseppe (certainly better than oscar winner tommy lee jones was in the fugitive). Emma Thompson's portrayal of attorney Gareth Pierce received much acclaim, and properly so. Beatie Edney, who had a small part as a wrongfully accused British teenage hippie, was so enamoring that its a wonder we don't see more of her.
Of course much of this film is exagerrated and perhaps fabricated for the purposes of entertainment (as all movies which are "based on a true story" tend to be) but it's so finely done that it doesn't seem to matter. Some terrific scenes include the beginning, when Gerry and his friends are chased by British soldiers after being mistaken for IRA snipers, the trial in London, the prison scenes (which expose the loneliness and honesty of the characters rather than the crude violence and gang rapes of so many other pathetic prison movies), and of course the powerful ending, where the marvelous dramatic talents of all the actors are evinced in a final crescendo. Be sure to see this film if you haven't, it will definitely stir your emotions and renew your faith in the human spirit. And for those who eschew political films, give it a try anyways, the acting and craftiness outweigh the civic themes.
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