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Totally Surprising. Not at all what I expected from the subject and previews. It could have been a clichéd exploitation of a complicated horrible situation, but rather is exceptionally subtle, nuanced and original, and therefore, very powerful. Some people comment that it plays a little loose with facts, some of which are not so minor. That the film makes no mention of Gerry Conlon's possible, if doubtful, ties to the IRA does change things a bit. Including that info would only have made the film better, more subtle. But its omission does help us to see Gerry Conlon as unjustly accused, tortured and convicted, avoiding the distraction of our suspecting him a criminal terrorist. Daniel Day Lewis and Pete Postlethwaithe are riveting as living, breathing, flesh and blood characters, almost bigger and better than the story itself. As a period piece, it recreates the turbulent '70s vividly, while it constantly fascinated me with its British take on the Generation Gap. If you need to remind yourself what great film-making is all about, this is a first choice.
A nice movie about legal, lazy injustice. The need to blame someone for
the catastrophe and make them look guilty to avoid the embarrassment in
front of the whole world. Seen from this point of view, this film is
haunting, as is Daniel Day Lewis' performance yet again as Jim
Sheridan's alter ego. And this could be the best collaboration between
The portrayal of this man is so human and realistic, his feeling of guilt mixed with a need to revolution in his immature opinion make it striking. Sheridan is good at portraying Northern Irish situations to perfection, this is probably the best and the most haunting. And the theme is justice and prejudice. He is blamed for his nationality and without evidence. It makes you think.
WATCH FOR THE MOMENT - The interrogation is unbearable. Lewis doesn't know what to do to convince them he is not guilty, and even under torture doesn't give up, until...
Watching the movie again last night, I realized how significant and relevant this movie remains today. In a time when many are rightfully or wrongfully held in Guantanamo for tangential relations to terrorist groups, media riling up the mobs against people like Richard Jewell without evidence, and laws which trample of civil rights being passed in the name of terrorism, this movie's message rings true today. The acting, especially that of Day-Lewis, and direction are spot on. If you haven't seen this movie, I strongly recommend it. If you haven't seen it recently, watch it again and consider how easily the same sort of injustices portrayed in this movie can repeat over thirty years later.
I am quickly becoming aware of the power that Jim Sheridan has behind
the camera as well as in crafting genuine non-Hollywood films. As I
watched In the Name of the Father unfold, I continually was impressed
by the passionate camera angles, the conviction of the characters, and
Sheridan's ability not to sway from his own personal heritage. From the
opening sequences of this film to the amazing direction to the
dedicated actors, I knew that In the Name of the Father was going to be
more than just your typical political "courtroom" drama. It wasn't
until the film was finished that I realized Sheridan's power. I speak
very highly of him in the opening of this review because I believe that
if any other director would have been at the helm of this project that
the final cut would not have been as immaculate. Typically with films
of this nature we, as audience members, fall prey to there needing to
be some sympathy for the opposing country. The British did unfairly
treat the Irish in this film, but I believe any other director would
have chosen a neutral ground instead of forging headfirst like Sheridan
chose to do. I believe any other director would have focused more
perversely on the courtroom drama aspect of this film instead of the
compelling family epic that was being forged within the walls of
Gerry's prison. Due to Sheridan, the masterpiece known as In the Name
of the Father was crafted with genuine passion and superb direction.
For a film of this high of emotion and intensity to work, there needed to be key players involved that knew how to handle the truthfulness of it all. Sheridan hit a bulls-eye with Daniel Day-Lewis in the key role of Gerry Conlon (which I think most directors do when they choose to hire one of our greatest cinematic heroes), but it was the surprise performance by the typical secondary character actor Pete Postlethwaite that shook me to the core. I have seen quite a bit of films that used the talent of Pete Postlethwaite, but I must admit, this is the first time that I have seen him take control of his character and give it his full devotion. Perhaps it was the dedication that Daniel Day-Lewis had to his character that rubbed onto the other actors, or again, maybe it was just the skillful direction of Jim Sheridan, but I will be the first to say that Postlethwaite stole this film. He didn't just capture the individual scenes in which he was present, but he embodied this entire film. Postlethwaite's father figure was there for his son, he put himself in danger for his son, and most importantly he taught his son the truth of the world. He was phenomenal in the small role that eventually captured the entire film. It is the belief of this reviewer that Pete should have been awarded for an Oscar for this role, instead of Tommy Lee Jones. I was also impressed with John Lynch whom I had only seen in some smaller roles since this. He fully embodied the frightened youth that didn't know better than to finger his friends to save his life. Then there was Emma Thompson. She was subtle in this film. Her role was short, sweet, and to the point, which I think is another prime example of why Sheridan's direction is so acute.
I have not read Proved Innocent, but I do not think that Sheridan went too far off course with his adaptation. The story is what kept me glued to the screen. I knew from the awards that In the Name of the Father was honored with that it was great in the direction and acting respects, but it wasn't until I watched the entire film that I realized the power of the story. We don't watch Gerry grow up. We don't see his dysfunctional relationship with his father. We don't see the impeding chaos in Britain. We don't see a lot of back items that would have taken this film into the three-hour zone. Instead, Sheridan crops the film into three distinct moments. Those are Gerry prior to jail, Gerry and his father in jail, and finally, Gerry gaining the wisdom from his father. I enjoyed the fact that Sheridan didn't focus so intently on the trial, but instead the growth of Gerry and the developing relationship between him and father. It was like watching a child grow before our eyes. The only disappointment that I had with the overall story was the quickness of the ending. I do believe Sheridan could have traveled it out for another twenty minutes to give us the full effect of the climactic courtroom scene, or those moments when Gerry decides to learn about British law himself. I just felt that the last half-hour seemed to fly by because there were so many loose ends to tighten.
Overall, I thought this film (despite the quickness of the ending) was engrossing to watch and exciting to see. It frightened me to watch it in a post-9/11 world because it makes us question our current government's hastiness to find answers and make executive decisions. It makes you wonder about the detainees of Iraq and if we, as a nation, are not discovering that our government is jailing the innocent. Sheridan successfully brings the emotions of aggravation and frustration to the peak of the screen with the events surrounding the Conlon family. He makes you feel for these innocent bystanders living in a corrupt nation. It made me happy to have the father that I currently have and appreciate the wisdom that he has handed down to me. Family is one of the most important elements in your life, and I believe that what Sheridan was trying to demonstrate with this film is that until you accept that, you will never find stability and security.
Grade: **** out of *****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an excellent reconstruction of the wrongful imprisonment of the
1974 'Guilford bombers' and the denial of Justice.
The acting is 'A' grade and the cinematography is anything but average. This is surely a superb piece of Hollywood.
The story starts when Gerry Conlon travels to London after the IRA causes conflict in his home town of Belfast. When the bomb goes off, his pety thievery makes him a perfect scapegoat for the British police to blame the deaths of the innocent on. After several hours of torture and torment, Gerry is forced to sign confessions and, eventually be sent to jail along with his family for the accused making of the bomb.
A great father-to-son relationship is developed throughout the Conlon's time in prison. However, when Gerry's father, Guiseppe, dies in prison for something he didn't do, the audience sympathises with the emotions of Gerry and the burning pieces of paper floating down the prison walls acts as a metaphor for the loss of the innocent.
One again, a marvellous film with tells the story of one family fighting for Justice
the film never overstated the reason why Conlon was imprisoned and never attempted to glorify what the IRA wanted to prove. the film concentrated on the plight of the accused accurately enough and never spiralled off on other tangents, there was obviously a lot of in depth research done for the film, one only had to look at certain parts of the film to understand how much had gone into it,i refer to the scene when Conlons solicitor visited the archives to retrieve files, if you look carefully the top file is headed Beirne one of Gabriel Byrnes relations from Elphin, Eire.Perhaps one day the whole truth will come out as to who really bombed the pub but until then we will have to wait. well done cracking film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's refreshing to view a based on factual events, without the
fabricated love story used by directors to enhance the entertainment
value. Instead, In The Name of the Father, the audience is exposed to a
beautifully crafted film portraying the injustice of the Guildford Four
trial, with the central focus regarding the emotional conflict between
father and son.
"In the Name of the Father" remains faithful to the story of Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis), a man wrongfully accused of the Guildford pub bombing in London, 1974. His unfortunate events affect his whole family and friends, as they are used as scapegoats by the police, blamed for a crime they didn't commit. The film continues to highlight the injustice of the Guildford case, resulting in life imprisonment. Even so, with the faith derived from his father, Conlon's spirit remains alive as he faces the hardships of prison, and the ongoing hope as they both attempt to re-open the case after 15 years with the aid of the lawyer, Gareth Pierce (Emma Thompson).
It isn't surprising that the movie was nominated for 7 academy awards, especially with an exceptional cast to embody one of the most 'emotionally charged cases in British history'. And one wonders how much emotions influenced the convicted decision made by the jury, when we witness the public present in the courtroom yelling obscenities to the accused! Daniel Day Lewis(Gerry Conlon), together with Pete Postelwaithe (Giuseppe, Gerry's father) manage to capture the emotion of the case, as well as their strained relationship. When Gerry attacks Giuseppe in the prison cell, the camera remains focused on both men's faces, capturing the pain and frustrations on Lewis' face, and contrasting the look of disbelief on Giuseppe's.
The music in the movie is to be commended, with a different yet accurate tune used to reflect the sequences displayed on film. From the loud, thunderous rock tune at the beginning, to the intense rhythmic beating before the anticipated walk to the courtroom, as well as the soulful, heart wrenching ballad played as the prisoner's throw out paper flames in a desperate cry for help, it is undeniable that the music is the essence of a film with such emotional depth.
In "The Name of the Father", the audience become touched by the story of an uncommunicative father and son, whose relationship prospers on new found trust and respect, all the while dealing with the political issues regarding their wrongful imprisonment. If not watched for the acting or the camera's remarkable ability to captivate, even the storyline is enough to keep a person entranced!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the name of the father is an excellent portrayal of human injustice and the lengths humanity is willing to go to, to seek revenge for crimes regardless of the truth. This is an excellent representation of the Guilford 4's true story. Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day Lewis) had been squatting in London with his old school friend Paul Hill (John Lynch). When the Guilford pub is blown up on October 5th 1974, Gerry and Paul become suspects. Tension building music is a pre cursor to the Guilford pub explosion contrasted with normal scenes involving couples walking into the pub. During their questioning Gerry and Paul are subject to physical and mental abuse. The filming here adds to the feeling of helplessness by filming Gerry's head through a gap in the officers surrounding him. High camera angles show how defenceless Gerry is and low angels on the officers demonstrate their authoritarian positions. An important shot is a close up on Inspector Dixon's face as we see him sneering at Gerry. Gerry's father Giuseppe Conlon (Pete Postlethwait) travels to England to arrange a lawyer for Gerry when he too is arrested for participating in an IRA support network. While Gerry and Giuseppe are imprisoned together we become further aware of their distant relationship and the underlying causes. During these scenes close ups on Gerry and Giuseppe's faces show the pent up emotions that come to a head. Giuseppe Conlon is well aware he may not be released from prison alive .So is the audience. His death forms one of the most incredible scenes. Gerry's grief at his fathers death is expressed through close ups on his face with tears running down and wailing music this is paralleled by the fire tears of the prison. When the prison cries fire tears its dark outside representing the extinguishing of Giuseppe's light. The contrasting the darkness and fire tears running down the walls of the prison are stunning and will stir the emotions of any watcher. Gareth (Emma Thomson) their lawyer works on the Conlon's case for nearly 10 years. Shortly after Giuseppe's death she uncovers fresh evidence withheld from the defence in Gerry's favour. This leads to the moving court scene with Gareth's passionate speech incriminating the officers involved in the Guilford 4's arrest, trial, and imprisonment. This scene uses high camera angles and although they make her look small she is empowered and unstoppable. The close ups on Dixon's lips and hands (which he is wringing) show his guilt. In the name of the father is filled with emotional scenes and speeches. One of these speeches Gerry makes when he is released from prison. He demands to exit from the front of the court and as the camera pans over him on his way out, he climbs over the crowd. Daniel Day Lewis is amazing through out the film but if you hadn't been convinced of his connection with the character yet this would be the time. His speech declaring his innocence and that of his father is one of the most memorable in film. The wonderful acting is complemented entirely by the sound track and various film techniques. Although not entirely accurate it's a truly stunning film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'In the Name of the Father' is a true story based on the Guildford
Four. In particular it follows the story of Gerry Conlon who was
wrongly accused of the Guildford Pub bombing in the 1970's.
There were some outstanding performances by Emma Thompson who played Gareth Peirce, Pete Postlethwaite who played Giuseppe Conlon but by far the best performance was by Daniel Day-Lewis who played Gerry Conlon. He made his character seem so real and believable making the audience sympathize with him. The last speech he made was very passionate and well spoken leaving the audience with a tear in their eye because they were so moved.
The layout of the film was interesting by the way they showed the bombing right at the start of the film then going back to Gerry in Ireland and follow what he does up until the bombing and afterward. This captures the audience attention from the start making them interested and willing to find out what will happen next.
The film shots and camera angles help to emphasize the feelings and emotions felt at certain parts of the film. For instance, there are many times when Giuseppe is shown behind Gerry to show how Giuseppe is always looking over Gerry's back. There is also a shot that shows the police officer looking down on Gerry in an intimidating way trying to get him to sign a confession.
The soundtrack sets the mood in the scenes, it was happy when Gerry was happy, dramatic when it was a dramatic sound and sad when something bad happened. It really helped to set up the scenes. There was a lot of good music that kept the audience interested.
There were many themes that were clearly shown in this film. These were injustice, corruption, family values and equal rights. The dialogue clearly showed these themes and helped to make the audience really think about them.
'In the Name of the Father' is a moving film that really captures the audience's attention and keeps them in suspense the whole time. It is a good watch and I really recommend it.
Great movie, great acting, edge of your seat suspense, a complete slam dunk. My favorite prison and police corruption movie. Now, I know that movies are made to make money. They have to be entertaining in order to do so. Sometimes, some 'higher concept' can be infused without violating the 'make money' rule. However, anyone looking for historical accuracy in ANY movie, would be as well looking for gold at the end of a rainbow. Just pick your favorite 'accurate' movie and do a little digging. You quickly get into fantasy land. The answer? Stop looking for history in the movies. They are not real - even when 'based on a true story' - whoever's reality that is! No. Just accept it for what it is. A fictionalized account of someones perception of reality twisted into good plot. That said: Great movie, great acting, edge of your seat suspense, a complete slam dunk. Look for a history lesson elsewhere.
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