37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: In the Name of the Father [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is a powerful story, and watching it absolutely wrings you out. You should see this movie, because the story is so emotional. You should also see it because of the quality of the acting. Daniel Day-Lewis' and Pete Postlethwaite's performances are so raw and perfectly understated that they make the film seem like the reality the story is based on.
Readers can get the gist of the plot from other reviews here, but there are a few remarks that should be made.
In this post-September 11 world, it should be noted that the thing that enabled these injustices was a bill that allowed British officials to hold suspected terrorists for up to 7 days without charging them. This gave these officers all the time they needed to beat and intimidate Conlon into confessing something he didn't do. The kind of power such a bill provides requires more responsibility than this.
While the British government does come out looking very bad in this film, it must be fairly pointed out that you can see why these officers were initially convinced of the Four's guilt: they had been lied to by someone who disliked Gerry Conlon. Naturally, at first, the police thought the Four were just lying to evade prosecution. However, much later in the film, we see that Conlon's innocence had been proven to at least some of the officers a month or so after his arrest. However, this was concealed from the rest of the judicial system, and the Four were still incarcerated.
I have to mention that some of the most powerful moments in the film actually come from Pete Postlethwaite's performance as Giuseppe Conlon. His attempts, while in the middle of these horrible circumstances, to draw closer to his son are so genuine and heartfelt that it makes you want to cry. This gentle, nice man's life was surrendered to these injustices, and all the while he still tried to teach his son to be good, to be honest, and to have ethics - in other words, to be a man.
There has been some commentary as to whether the Guildford Four were really innocent. It should be stated here that the judge who released them - chief justice Lord Lane - stated that he felt the police involved in the case "must have lied." Also, aside from an official apology from Tony Blair, the British government has made financial restitution to the Four. I think that's enough to decide that they were probably innocent.
While occasionally seeming over-dramatized - like all films based on factual events - this movie succeeds in riveting you to the screen. This is a good rendering of events that prove how tragedies can occur when you have people with too much power and not enough conscience.
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Initial post: Jan 29, 2012 4:17:28 AM PST
Carlisle Wheeling says:
Thank you for posting such a wonderful review. I just saw this last night, and was outraged. It is akin to our own Salem Witch Trials, which reminds me of another Day-Lewis film, The Crucible.
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