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Based on the true events surrounding the IRA bombing of 1974 in
England, In the Name of the Father tells the story of Gerry Conlon; a
small time thief who, along with his friends, is falsely accused of
committing the heinous crime & after being coerced into confessing
guilty by the British police during the brutal interrogation is
sentenced to prison life along with his father who is also implicated
in the crime during the trial. The story covers 15 years of Conlon's
wrongful imprisonment during which he tries to prove his innocence with
the help of a British attorney.
This is the 2nd collaboration between Jim Sheridan & Daniel Day-Lewis after My Left Foot and presents Sheridan in complete control of his craftsmanship & Day-Lewis at the top of his game. The real-life character of Gerry Conlon is magnificently brought to life by Day-Lewis & he was simply at his best during the interrogation scene, making it the film's most intense sequence. Also, the scenes between Gerry & his father, played amazingly well by Pete Postlethwaite, are its finest moments and the two shared an amazing chemistry together.
On an overall scale, In the Name of the Father is one of those films that leaves little to complain about and is a brilliantly directed, deftly written, tightly edited, strongly performed & elegantly composed cinema that also features best works in the directional career of Jim Sheridan & acting career of Pete Postlethwaite. Daniel Day-Lewis' contribution here often gets overlooked but, in my opinion, it's right there amongst his finest performances. All in all, In the Name of the Father is one of the best films of its year and is a must watch for anyone who appreciates great cinema. Strongly recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After "My Left Foot", 1989' inspirational biopic of one of the most
famous Irish artists, that received universal acclaim and earned his
first Oscar to Daniel Day-Lewis, Jim Sheridan relates four years later
another page of Irish history through "In the Name of the Father", a
powerful and solid drama comforting Day-Lewis' reputation as one of the
most talented actors of his generation.
"In the Name of the Father", chronicles the events that lead to the arrest of the infamous 'Guildford Four': four Irish people falsely accused and convicted for the bombing of the London pub of the same name. It's a nice directorial touch that the film opens with the explosion that killed five innocent persons, the very action that would imply a vengeance- ridden reaction from the British law. Innocent people would then pay for the crime, and this is the tragedy of Gerard Patrick Conlon, a feckless Irish lead stealer, who was in London at the wrong place, at the wrong moment.
Yet even as a true story, the injustice and level of sadism displayed by the British Police, with the relative complicity of the Court, seem unbelievable, flirting with the most one- dimensional kind of cinematic Manichaeism. This is where the context plays a crucial role: after a series of bombing terrorizing the British population, the Parliament voted a Terrorism Act allowing the Police to arrest suspects for seven days. Although the use of torture was prohibited, any other kind of pressure became legitimate and could be used to force the suspects to sign a confession, or their own convictions' papers.
We're in a sort of post September-11 like paranoia, where the British system, lacking all the necessary perspective to properly investigate the case would spot the perfect scapegoats to compensate their own ineffectiveness. Any rational mind wouldn't believe an IRA bomber or criminal mastermind would rob a prostitute and goes back to his home like Gerry did. But those were irrational, fear-induced times. The torture scenes benefits from the spectacular performance of Daniel Day-Lewis, as the tough hoodlum reveals a vulnerable side, demonstrating innocence in every single meaning of the word. The nervous breakdown is inevitable, marking the triumph of the sadist Police officer played by Corin Redgrave, followed by a tragic domino effect.
Gerry's friends and family are all arrested, including his father Giuseppe, a honest, hard- working and sensible man. It was Giuseppe who encouraged Gerry to leave Belfast for London, fearing an arrest because of his illegal activities. And Giuseppe, the character who revealed the immense actor who was the late Pete Potlewhaite, is the soul of the film. He incarnates both the educational background of Gerry: an apparent failure, and a constant guiding force meant to elevate his son, to a level of dignity despite the adversity. The titular father is Giuseppe, and the gap between him and Gerry would trace the line of Gerry's evolution and understanding process, the ultimate key of his moral triumph.
The roots of Day-Lewis' torments are to have given up the conflict against the system for the more convenient one: his father, the one who holds for being responsible of all his faults. By constantly patronizing him, Giuseppe forged Gerry's rebellious instinct. Gerry lost self- respect by blaming everything on his father. He never shared room with him, but this one fictionalization is perhaps the strike of genius because the best moments of the film all focus on the father-and-son relationship. Giuseppe accepts fate as it comes while Gerry fights back without thinking. Gradually, Gerry's experience will reveal the limits of his own perceptions, even when it comes to the Irish responsibilities.
The jail scenes plays a powerful counterpart to the black-and-white depiction of the British justice and are also the setting of the greatest and most emotional performances from the trio Day-Lewis, Postlewhaite and Emma Thompson as the British lawyer who'd reopen the case and allow the 'Guildford Four' to be rejudged, for an immediate release, fifteen years after the first sentence. Giuseppe would never be a free man and his death from pulmonary condition would forge the spirit of his son and give a meaning to his fight for Justice. Jim Sheridan's film is a powerful human drama featuring a magnificent and emotionally gripping metamorphosis of the central character.
However, the film suffers from a few flaws on the scenes' arrangements, a criticism I also had with "My Left Foot" whose clumsy editing left a few interrogation marks, notably on the relationship between Day-Lewis and his father. "In the Name of the Father" seems so eager to be a poignant father-and-son story, a character study that the trial part was treated with more rush, only leveraged by the powerful acting of Daniel Day-Lewis. A few less scenes would have allowed to focus on Thompson's investigation, and prevent the final trial from its rather abrupt or anticlimactic feeling, maybe less the trial than the way the pivotal evidence were found. However, this is rather a regret than a criticism, the film still relies on Day-Lewis tour de force and his believable transition from a young self-centered thug to a man who'd do his best to Honor the memory of his father
It's fitting that one of the scenes feature "The Godfather", especially the garden moment between Vito and Michael as the very scene represented the succession between the two persons, the transmission of heritage, between Giuseppe and his son, the transmission of common values. Conlon's personal fight would be to find out the part of him he had in common with his father, and make the most of it. In the Name of His Father.
In the Name of the Father tells a pretty horrifying tale of several people who were wrongly accused of the Guildford bombings. It's admirably written and directed, and there's enough here to allow you to really feel for the characters involved. As it is, it strongly reminds me A Cry in the Dark, another similar biographical film about an unfortunate turn of events starring Meryl Streep. Both films work as much as they do because of their central performances, in this case Daniel Day Lewis, who is truly fantastic. Ultimately, this is an effective film that is worthy of a viewing, although I don't think it's overall as effective as A Cry in the Dark, if maybe for obvious reasons of the tragedy in the latter being worse.
This one is a keeper, it is indeed one of the best films I have ever
seem. It is in my top 50 favorite films and I think it will always
remain there. Set in the British Islands in the 1970's, this film shows
clearly how complicated was the situation of the poorer folks from
Ireland relative to the rest of the Islands and how they suffered
extreme prejudice from their ethnic background. Which I would think is
rather absurd considering that the main way of differentiating an
Irishman from an Englishman is the accent.
There are some minor flaws in the film, however, but it doesn't detract from the viewing experience.
Overall, a very touching film and I highly recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The storyline in this movie, was a very human, and rare, depiction, of
real-life immaturity. Which is the true cause for a lot of pride fueled
hate in the world. And, Daniels character, throughout the beginning of
the film, hurt himself, and his father, along with the rest of the
people he knew, by simply being selfish and immature. As I said, a real
character flaw in a lot of people in the world. He refused to see, that
the people, he thought were "in the right", would use him too, in the
struggle for power. And, while imprisoned, his maturity grew. Sadly at
the cost of his father. He saw that it was only about a power struggle
from the 2 sides. And, finally realized, his father and him had nothing
to do with it. And his father who would fight for his son, and family.
Not for the glory of power. But the love of his family. Was truly, the
strongest person, around him. Daniel Day, was awesome in this movie,
for portraying, a stubborn immature, character, who completely matured,
albeit, very late. He discovers what really matters to him the most.
But, hey, Thats the evil of pride, for you. It isn't a sin for nothing.
for the record, i'm not religious at all, but, the seven deadly sins, hold a lot of truth,
I found this movie on a tape. Seeing that a good actor, was in it. I decided to watch it. And it surprised me. Even when lewis character made really unthoughtful choices. It still felt real to me. I have known, and do know people who leap before they look.
It's funny how you can watch a whole bunch of movies, trying to learn
more about film-making and how shots are constructed, how characters
are developed, how music should be used and then all of a sudden a
movie comes along and you find yourself drawn into its story and easily
forgetting to pay attention to all of technical aspects. When it comes
to In the Name of the Father, it was like being reminded of how
powerful a performance could be and how films can truly reach into your
heart and affect you.
I don't know what makes Daniel Day-Lewis' performance so effective but I thought it was very much so. I think great film is often about capturing the great things that already exist in the world, not so much about creating a great work of art but recognising something that you find beautiful or simply interesting and sharing it with an audience. Perhaps the reason Day-Lewis' performance is so good is that he is so "naked" as an actor (as they say). I have a feeling this is probably some well known concept in film that critics rarely talk about because everyone understands it (except me). Oh well.
I also though Pete Postlethwaite and Emma Thompson were excellent as well, one gets the impression that everyone that worked on the film truly believed in it. As for the story, I have no idea how close it is to the truth but to some degree I don't think it matters. What matters is that it manages to engage and affect you, hence inspiring you to learn more about the actual events for yourself. I don't think films should have to be about capturing or creating realism only, by exploring fantasies you can make things more personal as well as achieve greater depth (I believe) hence expressing more than you could otherwise. This probably has little to do with this film in particular but as Roger Ebert has said (roughly), movies should be about emotions and ideas not facts.
So, I think what makes In the Name of the Father so effective is that its a personal film with a very talented cast, a good story and a director that knows how to let the magic happen. Or something. I think that's an extremely vague and general statement but hey, I don't want to spoil the details of the story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Gerry and three of his friends and his father and aunt are wrongly
imprisoned for the Guildford bombing. What follows is a deeply moving
story of innocents fighting for appeal and a tender story of how time
in jail forces Gerry and his Father to become closer and start to see
eye to eye.
I watched this for the first time the other day and was blown away by the performances from Daniel Day Lewis as Gerry, Pete Posthelwaite as his father,Emma Thompson as their lawyer who fights to prove their innocence.Featuring small but good appearances by Tom Wilkenson,Daniel Massey and Nigel Hawthorne as the appeal judge. A very good film that deserves a watch.
As the cousin of Gerry Conlon sits here and reads the comments made, i am so glad this film touched many of your hearts. Everyone is entitled to voice an opinion , and voice them u must! I hasten to add, a persons comment reading (entertainment) this was not made for entertainment but education! This injustice is happening all over the world and until documented films such as this one is brought to light , then everyone remains none the wiser! The film cannot be as perfect as maybe mentioned, but can only be as realistic as it possibly can be! The actors portrayed the characters as fantastically as they could. I hope this film becomes more widely known, everyone needs to know the injustices taking place in the world. Thankyou for taking the time to emphasise your feelings and emotions over this . Elle
This is an exceptional movie, and a deeply political one. Not just for
its discussion of Northern Ireland, but the very poignant statements it
makes about torture, about the death penalty, and indeed about any
system of justice that prioritizes attaining a confession of guilt.
More than a decade since the film came out, all of these issues are highly relevant in, for example, the United States today.
Guantanamo Bay, anyone? As this film makes clear, there is no justification for the torture of political prisoners (or indeed, anyone else for that matter).
The Death Penalty? Had the UK permitted the death penalty for this sort of crime, the Guildford Four would almost certainly have been executed (both the film and the contemporaneous accounts of the case indicate this). There can be no justification for capital punishment, under any circumstances. Guilt is never 100% certain, even when accompanied by a confession.
It's rare that a film makes compelling, timeless political statements, and rarer still to do so in the context of telling a great story. The story of Gerry Conlon, and the rest of the Guildford Four, needs to be told and retold. Especially in times when people are willing to sacrifice human freedoms and fundamental rights in the hopes of attaining a false sense of "security."
Tremendous film. Tremendously underrated. When I talk to my peers about
"In the name of the Father" I often get, "what?" It's truly a shame.
Yes, the movie is a older now, but it's a classic film about injustice
and political oppression. And Dainel Day-Lewis, wow. It's my
understanding that he lost out to Tom Hanks for Best Actor, which is
unfortunate. Not to take away from Hanks, but because this is an
absolutely amazing performance. He shines as Gerry Conlon, a man
wrongfully convicted for a brutal crime. This is one of those rare
films that allows you to feel the pain of injustice. I'm not Irish. I'm
not English, and I wasn't even born when Gerry was convicted, yet I can
feel as if I was there. I was in that prison with him with this movie.
Also Emma Thompson, what an inspiration. She's the knight in shining armor in this movie, and she really makes you like defense attorneys.
Watch this movie. Enjoy it. It deserves it.
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