Young Belfastian Gerry Conlon admits that he was in London at the time of the incident. He also admits that he is not a model citizen, having committed a petty robbery while in London. He does however profess his innocence when it comes to the bombing of the Guildford Pub in London in 1974, the event which killed several people inside. A self-professed non-political person, he and his three co-accused, dubbed the Guildford Four, are thought to be provisional members of the IRA. Their self-professed innocence is despite each having signed a statement of guilt which they claim were signed under duress. Their case includes having provable alibis for the time frame of the bombing. And eventually, Joe McAndrew, a known IRA member, admits to the bombing. Dubbed the Maguire Seven, seven others, primarily members of Gerry's extended family including his father Giuseppe, are accused of being accessories to the bombing. Following on the work initiated by Giuseppe, Gerry works on a campaign to ...Written by
Bono was offered the role of Paul Hill. U2s busy touring schedule prevented him from accepting. See more »
In court, Inspector Dixon states that he "never even spoke to Gerry Conlon". Some minutes later when Gerry Conlon is being interrogated, the accused says "You told Inspector Dixon that you had committed a robbery" holding Gerry's statement. There's proof that Inspector Dixon and Gerry spoke, thus making his testimony in court false. Any defendant attorney would have noticed this. 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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