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In the Name of the Father (1993 movie)

1 rating: 5.0
A movie directed by Jim Sheridan

In the Name of the Father       Based on Gerry Conlon's autobiography, PROVED INNOCENT, Jim Sheridan's IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER tells the tumultuous and wrenching tale of a man wrongfully imprisoned in 1974 for the bombing … see full wiki

Director: Jim Sheridan
Release Date: 1993
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about In the Name of the Father (1993 movie)

In The Name of the Father

  • Jul 26, 2009
Pros: extremely intense subject, outstanding acting and script

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:
"In the name of justice
In the name of fun
In the name of the father
In the name of the son"
~Bono, Friday, Seezer

This film, In The Name of the Father, was based on the autographical book “Proved Innocent” by Gerry Conlon, and covers the atrocious injustice done to him and his family during the 1970’s. Viewing it I could only think of the Salem witch hunts.

I will be the first to admit I don’t understand this on-going hatred, revolving around the IRA, the British, and religious beliefs. Not that I don’t understand defending something you strongly believe in but this is simply excessive.

Granted, Gerry Conlon was no altar boy. At most he was a petty thief, but in this particular circumstance it was all a bit of innocent fun that turned deadly. He and a few friends were on a rooftop of an abandoned building, bombed out actually, and just helping themselves to the lead that was on the rooftop. A band of British security forces, prowling aimlessly looking for someone to kill, mistakes his antics on the rooftop. A broom he is holding, playing ‘air guitar’, appears to be a weapon to those soldiers on the street and the chase begins.

I don’t know what age he is supposed to be in this film although later they say he was in his mid-30’s when released from prison, but he certainly does not look like a teenager. That aside, his family is no longer able to protect him, his father is disgusted with his thieving ways, and he is sent off to London along with a pal to live with his aunt Annie Maguire.

I find it ironic at best that the course of action they would take would be to send him into the heart of the land that is holding their iron fists over Ireland. That being said, Gerry and Danny, young bucks with no real interest in living under the roof of a doddering aunt, set out on their own to find lodging. They hook up with a commune, mainly made up of other refugees like themselves, searching free love and the drug culture. This works for a while until they come to blows with one resident and they leave.

As things turn out, there is an active IRA group in this very area and they decide this is the night they will make their stand. They bomb a popular eating establishment, just a few blocks from where Gerry and Danny are sitting in the park. With what can only be called incredibly bad luck, they are both arrested and charged with the bombing.

A new law had recently been passed in England where the police could detain suspected terrorists for 7 days of questioning before filing charges against them. Gerry and Danny are dropped into the middle of this mess and the injustice starts to roll its’ greasy wheels. Gerry’s father, Guiseppe, makes the trip to England to free his son, staying with his sister, Annie Maguire, and her family. The idiots in charge deem it probable that the entire family is behind the bombing, including the 14 year old son, arresting them all as well as two other people from the commune.

Throughout the entire movie there is more than one story in play yet it wraps itself round both of them, making them one. There is the bad blood, but intense love, between father and son with Guiseppe and Gerry. Even as they fight each other they love just as strongly, each refusing to show that love. This is in the middle of this complicated and unheard of criminal injustice that falls on the entire family.

The scenes where the boys are being interrogated are quite harsh, you want to throw something at the police. This brings the boys back down to a more human and much younger level than they portray through most of the movie with their swagger and big talk. Couple this to the fact that this event could even take place, this group of people could be subjected to these indignities and imprisonment, is simply incredible.

Daniel Day-Lewis did an outstanding job as Gerry Conlon. He was joined in the cast by Emma Thompson as the attorney/investigator he finally hires. Paul Postlethwaite plays the father, Guiseppe. As he and Gerry are in the same cell for 15 years, isolated from the rest of the prison population, we watch them develop the love and finally the understanding they have withheld all those years.

This film was directed by Jim Sheridan; screenplay by Terry George. It was nominated for 25 awards, winning 6, and carries an R rating for language and violence. This was not a pretty film but it was never intended as such. It is difficult to believe that such railroading happens, yet here is the proof. The filming was quite good although sometimes hurried and overlapping. I particularly enjoyed the vocal by Bono, mostly spoken, over the credits.

I think you would find this an interesting film to watch. Just another slice of life, only with a sharper knife.



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