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It’s movies like these that got me to realize how the Palestinians feel about the injustice in Israel. I only wish my aunt would understand I don’t take sides in this holy war knowing what’s happening to Palestine.
A strange thing happened to me when watching In the Name of the Father. I knew nothing about the true story of the Guildford Four before I sat down to watch this movie, in fact I didn’t even know it was based on a true story. For some reason I anticipated an unexpected twist that would be revealed later in the film. Because the entire flashback sequence was told from the perspective of Gerry Conlon, I thought they were going to reveal it was an unreliable narrator situation and he was actually lying, and was guilty of the bombing. Thankfully, the film plays no tricks and is upfront and forthright about the fact that the police and the legal system are the villains. It became glaringly obvious after a while that this movie is all about someone being falsely accused and we are supposed to see the injustice in his treatment. Because I’m such a big fan of legal dramas, I was hoping that In the Name of the Father would center more on Emma Thompson and her struggle to prove innocence once the backstory was completed. Instead the film was more interested in Daniel Day-Lewis and his struggle to grow up and fight back against all the people that wronged him. That was somewhat disappointing to me, particularly when the big break in the case comes basically by accident in a matter of seconds rather than through any hard work from Thompson’s character. It’s another one of those faulty expectation problems that left me wanting something that the film was never intended to provide. I probably would have known better what to expect if I realized the entire movie is based on an autobiographical book written by Gerry Conlon, so it’s meant to tell his story. The film was also about Gerry Conlon’s relationship with his father (played by Pete Postlethwaite.) It was interesting to see the dichotomy between father and son, and I think it was Potlethwaite’s character who is the more endearing. It took me a great deal of time to like Daniel Day-Lewis in this film. Of course I was on his side, as he was the underdog against a corrupt system, but his personality was so abrasive. This works to show his growth, but it felt like so long before he started to grow at all. All that said, I found the story engaging and fascinating, particularly when I started to realize it was based on something that happened in real life. It’s not exactly a heartwarming conclusion, and leaves you with a general sense of frustration, but that’s kind of the point. In the Name of the Father is meant to outrage us on Gerry’s behalf, and it succeeds at that.
Having not been terribly impressed by Jim Sheridan's Best Picture nominated biopic My Left Foot (1989) I was not eagerly anticipating this film as it had the same star and seemed to take the same tone. Unfortunately I can not say that the film shocked me by being daring and not conforming to the same tropes that we have seen used in courtroom dramas for decades and the milquetoast feel of the film did not help to differentiate it from it's superior predecessors. It is easy to see why the Academy, prone to making safe, unimaginative choices, were attracted to this film and lavished it with so many nominations without actually awarding it anything.
In 1974 in Belfast Young thief Gerry Conlon, Daniel Day-Lewis, lives with his loving father Giuseppe, Peter Postlethwaite, whose over attentiveness annoys him but he misses him as he leaves for London. He is meant to live with his sensible aunt Annie Maguire, Britta Smith, but spends time with free love hippies and ends up robbing a prostitute and taking drugs in a park the night that the Guildford Pub Bombings occur. He is blamed for the event and coerced by interrogators into confessing to the crime after having the life of his father threatened. He and several of his family members and friends are imprisoned and Conlon is placed in a jail cell with his father who disagrees with his lifestyle and takes action to help them appeal for another court hearing. After the death of his family Conlon takes more interest in receiving help from lawyer Gareth Peirce, Emma Thompson, who discovers evidence that the police attempted to hide through complete coincidence. She mounts a solid defense for the wrongly imprisoned men and women and they are allowed to go free.
Both of Sheridan's weepie dramas about real life figures feature angelic parental figures and while in his 1989 film you had the self sacrificing mother he opts for a caring but occasionally disappointed father. From the moment we meet him we know that he will be the titular father and can anticipate something tragic happening to him that is meant to make the audience cry and serve as motivation for the main character. Postlethwaite was a famed character actor but the role he works with here is so saccharine and sweet that it is hard for him to do anything other than appearing loving and stare at his son with pride. The real Giuseppe, or Guiseppe as it is misspelt in the film's epilogue, may well have been this way but on screen he makes for a dull character and it would have helped if he had more flaws. When he feels too good to be true it is hard to believe in his relationship with his son, the emotional center of the film, and so there is a disconnect and we are forced to engage with the film as a facts based narrative which is considerably less compelling.
The film's structure is also odd as we see a lot of Conlon in London as a crunchy hippie before he is wrongly accused of committing a crime and get very little of Peirce fighting for justice towards the end. The final scenes are some of the most rousing and while I didn't mind seeing our protagonist take drugs with a young Saffron Burrows that section of the film could have been considerably short. For a film that was over two hours long it felt insubstantial at it's end and most of the substance of the film came from a section of the film that didn't quite work for me. When Conlon and his father are trapped in prison together it should provide room for reflection and an opportunity to show the dehumanizing effect that being inside a prison can have. Another pacing issue appears at this point because we have no idea until the last few minutes of the film how many years the men have spent in prison. In addition both appear to be having a fine time in prison as Conlon is able to take LSD and his father has a friendly rapport with the prison guards. We needed to feel their pain so that their victory could be sweet and well earned but instead we are left underwhelmed.
An enraging film that will inspire indignation!
In the Name of the Father (1993) is Jim Sheridan's Irish historical about The Troubles in Ireland and the enduring pain suffered by her people.
Jim Sheridan's direction is stellar steady work that lets actors breathe and perform moving masterclasses in emotionally nuanced acting. Sheridan brings historical accuracy and information to his picture with the story stemming from Gerry Conlon's life experiences during The Troubles and his imprisonment. Sheridan tackles the chaotic violence of The Troubles as well as the emotionally distressing aspects. In the Name of the Father is a brilliant and scathing critique of the justice system and how deeply flawed police work can be. Torture is endured and life sentences carried out for an innocent man. These cannot be continued for there to be any justice in this world. In the Name of the Father feels so important and relevant as more cases of innocent people being exonerated happen all the time.
Daniel Day-Lewis is a revelation as Gerry Conlon. His Irish accent is thick and impressive. He sounds naturally Irish within In the Name of the Father. His deeply passionate testimonial to a man horrendously wronged by the English courts and law is moving. Day-Lewis captures a man at his wit's end with no hope for tomorrow. His silly start in the movie changes into a more and more nuanced approach to a man marred by misfortune. In the Name of the Father is one of Daniel Day-Lewis' finest performances and perseveres as one of his most important.
Pete Postlethwaite is incredible as Gerry Conlon's sickly and meek father Giuseppe Conlon. His principles are stalwart and his touching rapport with Day-Lewis really make the film special. His tender hand to his son is affecting as is his devotion to his faith. He stands as the moral figure of the film, who just wanted to relate his feelings to his son. It's a beautiful sentiment that Postlethwaite invokes perfectly.
Emma Thompson is endearing and serious as the Conlons' lawyer. Her dedication to the case and justice are self-evident. Thompson brings a passion to the courtroom scenes and an empathy to the anguish these men have faced. She is particularly great at speaking their pain into words.
Then, Corin Redgrave is aptly cast as Dixon, the head of the investigation into Conlon's case. His corrupt nature and lack of remorse is displayed on Redgrave's serious face. You just hate his character, but he plays it so subtly.
Trevor Jones came up with a riveting score of intense symphonic passages for the drama and frightening atmospheric rock elements to the violent imagery.
In all, In the Name of the Father is a significant historical drama depicting a notable miscarriage of justice. I am glad for Gerry Conlon in the end, though his life was surely changed forever.
Rewatched this movie recently and was moved to tears by the end of it. Set in the 70s this massive miscarriage of justice made me sick to stomach and brought back stories I remember reading about as a your teenager.
The role of Gerry Conlon is superbly played by Daniel Day Lewis who is absolutely emotive in the movie. Pete Postelwhaite and a young Emma Thompson are also worthy of a mention in this movie about the Guildford 4.
Although they were vindicated in the end along with the Birmingham 6. They still lost 15 years of their lives and Guiseppe Conlon would never see justice. Also, Gerry had major difficulties readjusting to live outside jail and significant mental health which caused addiction issues caused by his incarceration.
A great movie that tells this awful story and allows us to see that it was not that long ago that high ranking people in the British justice system were willing to use desperate tactics and ruin lives to score PR wins. In the end, there was justice as no one was brought to answer for this treatment of innocent civilians.
A big Thank You to everyone associated with this film.
It reminds the world how cruelly the british treated everyone in their colonies of british empire all around the world. Their legal system was just a facade to legally carry out atrocities in the name of justice.
While has the 90s Oscar Cliches, In The Name of The Father manages to be captivating by performance especially Daniel Day-Lewis
Superb retelling of the story of the Guilford 4, Day Lewis is outstanding. Told at a good pace. Really enjoyed the film. Sad and shameful events.
Puntaje Original: 7.5
Moralmente compleja, con una poderosa historia y una desorbitante actuación de Danel Day-Lewis.
NIce different performance from Day-Lewis. Very solid all the way around.