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In the Name of the Father is an epic tale of hope and mistaken
identity, a towering achievement of sorts focusing on everyday and very
likable central characters as they are put through an awful emotional
grinder based on true events from the 1970s and 80s. The film is spoilt
only very slightly by a quite woeful theme song from Irish band U2 and
the fact director Jim Sheridan cannot much direct action, forcing the
very early few scenes to come across as awkward and misjudged. The
rest, however, is a dedicated study of a dedicated man forced into
becoming a hate figure; a fall guy of sorts, as the British government
struggle to come up with answers regarding the ongoing struggles in the
conflict with the Irish Republican Army.
The film is a tale of fighting for justice, a tale of independence and the duty one must go through in order to attain that independence. The road is long and the times get desperate; the characters face long stretches of prison time for things they did not do years were incorrectly taken off their lives and the result of it all is condensed down into a two and a bit hour film that you can most certainly go out of your way to see. What is two hours of your time compared to thirty odd years of someone else's, after all?
The film is essentially told in a flashback perspective, a story that is distilled through lawyer Gareth Peirce's (Thompson) imagination as she envisages the lead character doing what he does as he narrates to her exactly what went down through a cassette recording. But we are there as well, we are back in the 1970s and 80s with the lead character as they lead a relatively upbeat and happy-go-lucky life initially before the tragedy strikes. The lead is Gerry Conlon (Day-Lewis), a young Northern Irishman from Belfast who is living a life surrounded by IRA-led activity in the 1970s without ever directly being involved, but he is the sort of guy who gets caught in the cross-fire; a sort of 'wrong place, wrong time' scenario-led life that will catch up with him in horrific ways later on. When we first see Gerry, the likable rouge attitude and relatively odd choice of song by way of Jimi Hendrix sees him get chased by British troops that mistake him for an IRA sniper the scene has a fair amount of 'fun' to it; something that is brought back down to Earth later on.
There is a sad irony and that is that it is proposed Gerry should move away from Northern Ireland following these scenes in order to get away from the troubles. Gerry agrees and takes a boat over to England with a friend named Paul Hill (Lynch), before briefly settling down in London. Initially, the film plays on Gerry being a bit of a misfit in this new setting; he mixes mostly with casual drug takers, hippies and devout, air headed female vegetarians. This unconnected and grounded realism driven segment in the film is impressive and mysterious. Having no knowledge of who these people are and what eventually happens to them will have you see the film as this wandering and series of supposedly random events in a specific time setting as Gerry wanders the streets; talks to tramps, thieves from the homes of those that accidentally drop their keys right outside the front door and looks for short stay accommodation here and there.
But what follows is a change in gear and a change in study, indeed a change that encompasses desperation; mistaken identity; the hunt for redemption and the forcing of confronting issues regarding the relationship with one's father. A bomb is detonated within the vicinity of Gerry's general area one night and he is singled out by the police for his Irish roots and the fact he has only very recently arrived in England. He is jailed, with his father, as a part of the 'Maguire Seven', before desperately trying to claim justice. As a lead character, Gerry later embodies all the innocent and necessary traits for a victim just trying to survive. The film's point of attack takes special care in painting a wavy image for Gerry, one that sees him rob apartments of money, joke about with his mates and come across as quite antagonistic at times.
Gerry and his father's, named Giuseppe (Postlethwaite), coming together in prison provide some of the more fascinating scenes in the film; a forced period of bonding during which they humblingly make peace and mend the past problems that they shared from years gone by. There is enough in the film to get caught up in, a sense of tragedy and mis-justice; a sense of pain and desperation. As far as prison set dramas go, this is one of the more impressive I've seen.
In the name of the father is the story of Gerry and Giuseppe Conlon, a
father and son who along with nine other innocents, were wrongly
accused and convicted in relation to the Guildford Bombings in 1974.
Gerry Conlon became apart of a group that were known world wide as the
Guildford Four and Giuseppe became apart of a group that were lesser
known as the Maguire Seven. In the Name of the Father is set during the
time that relations between England and Ireland were most strained.
The film begins in 1974 Belfast and it immediately establishes Gerry's character as a tearaway. He is a tearaway for many reasons too many to list in this comment but it is evident that one of the reasons that he refuses to lie down and become like his father. His father Giuseppe is a likable man. A loving father whose hard work to provide for his family during a time where Catholics had no rights results in him developing severe asthma. When Gerry is blamed with his friends Paul Hill, Paddy Armstrong and Carol Richards for the Guildford Pub bombing, Giuseppe drops everything and goes to London to help his son. When staying with his relations the Maguire's he is also picked up and charged with them for being involved in Terrorist activity. They are found guilty and sentenced. Gerry receives life and Giuseppe get 14 years. While in prison the turbulent relationship between Gerry and his father worsens to the point where they are not speaking. Despite their natural stormy relation ship this situation is worsened by the arrival of Joe McAndrew who is the real Guildford Bomber. In McAndrews, Gerry sees the man who his father should be. A man that is a fighter and who does not take things lying down as opposed to quiet conservative Giuseppe who has turned his cheek all his life and has been repaid in bad health for it. But as time goes by and maturity sets in, Gerry revises his opinion on Giuseppe and discovers that he always will have a friend in his father. The final chapter sees Gerry discarding his troublesome persona in favor of one that is similar to his fathers and together begin to fight to clear their names.
This film was Jim Sheridan's first in relation to the situation that had engulfed Northern Ireland and to be honest it is his best so far. Sheridan once again uses an addictive storyline (father and son in miscarriage of justice) to further investigate the theme of father/son relations. Despite it's political setting and use of ethnic sides to tell the story what Sheridan wants us to asses is the relationship between Gerry Conlon and his father and how Gerry's resistance to become like his father leads to his downfall but it is through the worst part of his life that he gets to know his father properly. Through the claustrophobic atmosphere of their prison cell Gerry realizes that he has more in common with his father and despite past arguments Giuseppe becomes not only his father again but his best friend.
Day-Lewis is on form yet again with his performance and I have yet to see him in a film where he does not give a solid performance. This time he has the very strong support from Postlewaithe as his father Giuseppe. Postlewaithe is superb as the ill Giuseppe who never gives up hope. Emma Thompson is someone I have been very keen on. But in this film she delivers a spectacular performance and like Posthlewaithe it is worthy of the Oscar nomination they received and in both cases they should have won. Sheridan must also be praised for his script and direction of this film. He took a story that at the time was still sore on the minds of both the Irish and British people. It was also a time where the situation in Northern Ireland looked as if it would never stop and the films release could further the cause of fighting for both paramilitary sides. It did however make the world sit up and pay attention because every country has had at some time a severe miscarriage of justice.
If you want facts about the cases of the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven I suggest you don't watch this film. At the time of it's release it was heavily accused of not painting an accurate description of the case but the reality is that if you want details the film would not run at just over two hours but it would run for 15 years. I suggest you ask your local television stations to commission a Docu-Drama. This story is about the Conlon's. If I had faults with it I would say that my biggest hate of this film is the republican bomber Joe McAndrews. It is a very wooden performance that is down to bad acting and nothing else. He is too open about the whole affair which leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. If all Republican terrorists talked and acted like this the troubles of Northern Ireland would have lasted 10 minutes. There is a saying in Ireland that those who talk about it, no the least about it. On a whole it is very unbelievable. But despite this the film is very good, hard going to watch and very hard to walk away from without having some emotions evoked inside you. 8 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
COURTNEY VANDERPLUYM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER 'Well, I think they
ought to take the word 'compassion' out of the English dictionary.' Jim
Sheridan's In the Name of The Father is an emotional movie portraying
the real life story of the Guildford Pub Bombings, and the people
wrongly accused of doing it. You see an in-depth look into the
corruption of the Authorities, the callousness of the IRA, the
struggles of the innocent, the terrible events that bring a father and
son from a cold relationship to a close one, and a lawyers ambition to
uncover the truth.
On October 5, 1974 the IRA bombed a Guildford Pub in England, resulting in the deaths of five innocent people. The police, headed by Robert Dixon, became under intense pressure to find the bombers and make the public feel safe.
Meanwhile in another town in England, Two Irish boys, Gerry Conland and Paul Hill, were walking the streets, broke and looking for a place to stay. Gerry Conland, a mischievous, petty thief was sent over to England by his father to straighten his life out. Gerry was always getting in trouble with the IRA and his relationship with his father was cold and distant. Gerry, Paul and two other Irish People that were living in a squat with them, have their lives turned around when they are accused of committing the bombings.
Paul Hill was taken in to custody, and tortured until he admitted to the crimes and named others involved. Hill, being innocent, signs the confession and naming people who aren't in the IRA as his accomplices, assuming it would all be sorted out in court. Gerry, along with the others, are all threatened and hurt until they sign a confession.
Gerry's father, Guiseppe arrives in England to sort out the mess his son is in, but soon becomes arrested along with a few relatives and are accused of also being involved in the Bombings.
The court trial comes but the news is not so good, they are all found guilty, and sentenced to life changing jail time. Dixon, along with his colleagues, find there alibi's and know they are innocent, but corruption takes over, they hide the truth so they have people to pin the blame on, even if they are the wrong people.
Gerry, Giuseppe and all the other accused terrorists are sent of to jail, with four of them receiving life terms. Gerry and Giuseppe are sent into a jail together, soon to learn they are complete strangers, and don't know each other at all. Years pass, and jail began to take it's toll on the Conlands. Gerry has lost all hope in being saved, whilst his ill father fights for their innocence.
In their struggle to make it in jail, Gerry and Giuseppe soon become closer than ever, they get rid of their demons and are able to be close to each other. During this time, Giuseppe hires Gareth Pierce, a lawyer, to uncover the truth. The lawyer is passionate about the case and puts her heart and soul into helping them and putting a stop to the corruption. The real Guildford bomber is found and sent to jail, but the authorities turn a blind eye to it, leaving the blame on the Conlands.
Many years pass, Guiseppe soon passes away, leaving Gerry to fight for their innocence. In a twist of fate, Gareth uncovers the confession of a man who was Gerry's alibi. She takes the evidence to court, and with an emotional speech, which will surely be remembered, she Gets the Guildford four out of jail.
The movie ends on Gerry outside the court claiming his innocence and telling the crowd his will fight until his father is also found innocent.
The movie uses camera angles and lighting, which makes you realize who the innocent or that guilty are. Lighting is used for a mood setting, e.g. Blue lighting leading up to the moments before Guiseppe's Death. The music is used to set the mood, and build up to big moments in the movie e.g. Loud dramatic music is used during the bombings.
This emotionally charged movie, really made you question the corruption that takes place today, and the struggles and stories of the innocent people that become mixed up in it.
The power of this story is its being real, apart from the superb acting; Daniel Day-Lewis proves again his boundless believability and versatility, Pete Postlethwait is a touching portrait of undying love and fidelity to his son and Emma Thompson plays a very convincing role as the young and earnest attorney who fights for justice against the unlawful system. Although the movie is based on Conlon's autobiographical book, this is not only a political film in the sense we would expect it to be; the tragedy of two innocents arrested and convicted serves only as a background for an intimate reflection on father and son relationship in a movie that finally lies midway between a prison movie and a family drama.
Jim Sheridan has created something special with this movie. The true
story of a Father and Son who are wrongly accused and imprisoned, is
both intense and moving on several levels. Doomed to spend the rest of
they're life in prison, a strong relationship develops between them.
"In the name of the Father" starts of in the early seventies. It manages to recreate the period in great detail. The photography, music, set-decoration and the editing is top of the line. But what makes this film amazing are the performances of Lewis, Postlethwaite and Thompson. The chemistry between them is incredible, and as a viewer you are taken on a journey trough every emotion possible.
A must for every living person.9/10
I really enjoyed watching this film. I was young when the events happened and was gripped throughout. The sort of film that made me want to know more about what went on. A tragic tale which reminded me of Shawshank Redemption, if you liked Shawshank you will enjoy this too. Excellent acting/directing etc. Pete Postlewaite was brilliant, I can't think of him in a bad movie. Only negative is that I know this was depicting something that really happened but it was frustrating for me that the corrupt policemen escaped justice. I read later on the internet that he retired or health grounds or something. This film really got me thinking so thats got to be a good thing. Top stuff. . .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Some times you watch a movie and tell yourself "Why I haven't seen this
movie before?". This is exactly that kind of a movie. The movie is said
to be a bit blurred in historical accuracies. Probably, that is the
reason the movie is a bit underrated. The things that make this movie a
winner is its simple yet strong story and immeasurably powerful
performances. The movie is about Gerry Conlon and his three friends,
the team of whom was later christened as the "Guildford Four". They
were falsely accused of bombing and killing. This was followed by
multiple arrests, including those of Gerry's Aunt and Father, Giuseppe.
Full credit to Jim Sheridan for handling the plot in an appropriate way by following a linear narrative. It is the credit of the director for showing the unique bond between Gerry and Giuseppe, which I am quite sure can be related by any father-son pair. About performances; when there is Daniel Day Lewis, as Gerry, there will be impeccable and majestic acting. I always fall short of adjectives when I talk about Day-Lewis' acting. Be that when he got the news of his father's death or in the climax or any other single scene featuring him, he excelled. Pete Poslethwaithe was also brilliant as Giuseppe and got matched Day-Lewis' acting. Emma Thompson, always a fantastic actress, didn't disappoint and was excellent especially in the last climax courtroom scene. Special mention to Don Baker as Joe McAndrew.
As a final note this is a movie which, as its fantastic soundtrack 'In the Name of the Father" by U2 indicates, tells a story about love,humanity and fighting for truth and those make this movie no less great than The Shawshank Redemption.
Was looking at this cover of the DVD that i was planning to rent out, I
see, there is this man who looks very similar to Daniel Day Lewis
staring at me with a intense looks. First reminded of the music album
covers that were produced of individual artists.
But then seen There will be Blood, picked up In the Name of the Father which is a serious and not to be taken lightly movie. A little background of the IRA and the Great Britain, will surely help while watching the movie.
There were scenes where in i was lost in between cause of very heavy British accent. Sometimes the abusive language was so empowering that you enjoy watching the what you are watching, but you miss on the dialogues.
One thing which completely hats off to the man - Daniel Day Lewis, he can actually take the whole movie all by himself. He stays in the character, he does what he needs to do to be in the character and completely shows on screen which he has a very strong presence.
At the same time, not to forget Pete who plays Gerry's father and they share the same prison cell in the movie. Something that which I had seen for the first time and it was a little difficult for me to digest that father - son sharing the same prison. Pete in his own way played the role model of the good father who wants to inculcate good habits in his son, but fails. Even his death scene who intensely dramatic and clearly showed that how this would change his son. Then the movie picks up the pace.
on Emma Thompson, probably i was too enamored by the Daniel Day-Lewis' performance, her role was kind of over shadowed. Not saying that she didn't have a commanding role, she was the lawyer, defending falsely accused of terrorist activity.
This movie is not for the faint heartened, its not horror movie. But at the same time, it is really good movie to watch out for, when you are hoping to watch good cinema. Don't let the intense look on the cover on the DVD cover dissuade from watching a good movie.
A very powerful movie. It shows what justice was really like back then. The acting is very well done and brings out the pain and suffering of the situation. Daniel Day-Lewis is really good as Gerry Conolly. I was gripped to this film all the way through, I recommend this to anyone.
I don't think there is anyone around who can dislike this movie as it's directed in such a magnificent way that there are times you wish every movie could have the same impact even if strange enough director Jim Sheridan never really would make it in the director-scene. This is the story about the Guildford Four, the story of four people who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Once again London is haunted by an IRA-bomb and as the justice don't want to be blamed another time they must find some "guilty" and so it happens that some Irish outsiders are in the area of an exploded pub. The whole family of Conlon (even his father who must be so honest it reaches the laughable) are sent to prison at where they are absolutely hated and getting the hardest regime a prisoner can get. In the meantime the real terrorists are caught but the British government is too proud to convince that they made a mistake and little by little we see people torn apart as they are condemned for something they never did... Let's thank God this was a British production as never Sheridan chooses for Oscar-sentiment, it never goes over the top and it's just given as documentaryinformation, but mind you, the truth itself is shocking enough. Once again splendid performances from Daniel Day Lewis and Pete Postlewaite who plays the role of the father. Superb movie.
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