A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
In the Name of the Father
Gerry Conlon was a no account hoodlum who went about his time in strife torn Belfast stealing aluminum from buildings with his mates. Then one day, he was mistaken for an IRA sniper by the British military and was sent by his kindhearted father to live in London. There, while bumming around with some hippie types, he wound up near an IRA bombing in Guildford in 1974 and was fingered as the culprit along with three others who came to be known as the Guildford Four. After being tortured by the British police and forced to sign a confession, he was tried and convicted along several other members of his family including his father. While serving a life term in the penitentiary alongside his father, he formed a bond he never had with him as he began to understand his patient ways, while a dogged and sincere young British attorney tried her damnedest to clear the family's name. "In the Name of the Father" reunited the director and star of a "My Left Foot", and tells a similar story of triumph with an equally hard and unlikable protagonist. Here, Jim Sheridan directs from a script he wrote with Terry George from Conlon's book Proved Innocence. The film is an intense, brutal, and searing condemnation the British government's approaches to the terrorist acts that were crippling the country at the time. The intensity is turned up by Sheridan and never let down, particularly in the interrogation scenes and some riot scenes in prison continuing all the way up to the vindication scenes in court in the end. There are also some very touching scenes involving Gerry and his father finally understanding each other while in prison. The film is also a showcase for Daniel Day-Lewis who brings fierce intensity and ignorance in his portrayal of Gerry Conlon. Pete Postlethwaite is his equal in a beautiful perfomance as Gerry's father Giuseppe and Emma Thompson turns in fine work as the Conlon's attorney. "In the Name of the Father" is a shocking and powerful film about a bond between father and son, one man's growth from irresponsibility into maturity, and the errors that can be made in a court system reacting to terrible terrorist acts.