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In the Name of the Father
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"In the Name of the Father" tells the story from the point of view of Gerry Conlon, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Gerry starts out as a young man in Ireland. He is an unemployed lout who makes a little money on the side by stealing lead lining off neighborhood roofs. He is forced to leave Belfast due to the IRA's disapproval of his thieving activities.
Once in London, Gerry and his friend Paul Hill move into a squat with a group of other flower children. It is not long before Gerry and Paul have to move out of their new home due to friction over one of the young ladies' relationship with Gerry. This leaves both Paul and Gerry in a public park on the night that the Guildford Pub is bombed.
To make matters worse, the jilted boyfriend of the aforementioned young lady, goes to the police to finger Gerry and Paul as suspicious Irishmen. This is an opportunity too good to miss for Inspector Pavis. He is under great pressure to bring the guilty parties to justice.
The next thing we know Gerry, three of his friends and the larger portion of his family have been arrested, tried and jailed. Only just short of being a kangaroo court, the prosecutor paints them as a vicious IRA cell. The atmosphere is such that even the flimsiest of evidence is seen as damning proof of their guilt.Read more ›
What makes this story so compelling is that it is true. Conlon really did serve 15 years in a British prison for a crime he did not commit. His conviction was finally overturned in 1989, upon the revelation that evidence which proved his innocence was deliberately withheld by the government.
This film shows several chilling scenes where Conlon is psychologically and physically abused until he finally breaks down and confesses to the crime. He, along with the others, is then sentenced to a long prison term. As the presiding judge tells him, "I only wish I could sentence you to death."
After Gonlon and his father Giuseppe (Pete Postlethwaite) enter prison in when the film's best moments come. The way that the relationship between father and son grows and matures is a pleasure to watch. This is one of the most compelling and moving displays of father/son love that I have ever seen in a film. The acting by these two men is nothing short of brilliant.
Emma Thompson is also quite effective as the English defense attorney who works for their release. This is just another entry in a seemingly endless string of excellent performances by this gifted actress. She is an amazing talent.
Much was made when this film was first released of the liberties that writer-director Jim Sheridan took with the actual facts of the case. That may well be true, but for the purposes of the film it is not really relevant. This is not a documentary or journalistic report, and the facts are close enough. It is a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging film.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie is such a harrowing glimpse into the corruption of criminal justice that continues, especially today. DDL is perfection as always. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eleni
Saw this movie back when it came out in the early 90's. This movie is amazing! Tough movie but, at least there is some justice at the end. It is a must see. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Veds
Excellent. Daniel Day-Lewis and Peter Postlethwaite give remarkable performances. A hard hitting and realistic portrayal of the "Guildford Four".Published 3 months ago by Talor
If your ever in Dublin this prison is a must see. Get back to your roots. B.KellyPublished 3 months ago by Brian E. Kelly
What a grand film. Yes, the film makers took some freedoms with journalistic truth in having the father Giuseppe share a prison cell with his son, but they made a dramatic point... Read morePublished 3 months ago by William R. Nevins
Stunning. ...heart wrenching true story that's a cautionary tale. Excellent acting...felt like a really good documentary rather than a movie.Published 3 months ago by Mary Murphy Pelot
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