Ronald R. from SPARKS, NV Reviewed on 7/11/2011...
I am partial to IRA movies so I was interested. The movie is OK, being standard fare & somewhat predictable (the heroic defense attorney who uncovers the whole mess). If you like that sort of set of values (IRA & defense attorney heroes) then the movie is passable.
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Rob V. from PORT ORCHARD, WA Reviewed on 3/6/2011...
Powerful movie that is incredibly well acted. Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Emma Thompson, etc... What a great cast. It's based on a true story of a whole family who's lives were completely turned upside down when they were arrested based mostly on circumstantial evidence and trumped out charges. They spent years in prison until they were exonerated and set free. I won't tell you any more. Watch it. You won't be disappointed.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Justice by popular demand
Anthony Hinde | Sydney, Australia | 05/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a film that I watch very often but "In the Name of the Father" is still one of my favorites. The reason I am not watching it regularly is that it is quite disturbing. It is loosely based on the true story of the Guildford four. A group of young people jailed for the bombing of the Guildford pub in London back in 1974. "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. Up until this point in the film the story is told in retrospect, from many years after the event, by Gerry as he languishes in prison with his Father, Giuseppe. He is telling the story for a new barrister, Gareth Peirce, played by Emma Thompson. She is keen to have a retrial. The trouble is that Gerry is so cynical about English justice by this time, that he needs a lot of encouragement in order for him to participate. The rest of the film shows us, one layer at a time, all of the deceptions that led to the original convictions. False witnesses, false evidence, hidden testimonies, forced confessions and even the cover up of the confession of the real bomber. It all comes to a head in court, but not before the death of Giuseppe Conlon in prison, despite a compassionate appeal for early release. We also see Gerry's transformation from a callow youth into a dedicated campaigner for justice. What makes this film so disturbing is that the same forces that contributed to this outrageous perversion of justice are alive and well today. The passion with which the public calls for the conviction of anyone that is accused of a brutal crime, is equally as vivid now as it was then. It should not matter how brutal a crime is, we should call for the truth, not just revenge. And so we are left with the knowledge that history will repeat itself and probably is doing so at this very moment."
Compelling, True Story
David Montgomery | davidjmontgomery.com | 05/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gerry Conlon (Danie Day Lewis) was not an upstanding youth. He was a petty thief and layabout with little future. He was innocent, however, of the bombing of a London pub which killed four people in 1974. That did not stop an English court, however, from sending him, his father, and several other innocent men to prison.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."
"Three films that stand out in terms of explaining the movement of the Irish Republican Army are Michael Collins, Bloody Sunday and The Name of the Father, viewed in that order. Michael Collins explains the 1916 Irish Rising against British rule and the subsequent assassination of Collins for making a deal with the British to allow them to keep the North, a problem that still exists to this day, albeit calmed down somewhat because of the peace agreements. Bloody Sunday is about the armed assault by British Paratroopers that shot up a catholic peace protest in 1972. It is like watching Saving Private Ryan in the streets. That court case is still ongoing today. The Name of the Father is in Britain and is worth seeing again because of new events.
In 2005 The Prime Minister apologised for one of the worst miscarriages of British justice - the jailing those accused of the Guilford IRA bombings. This film is about what happened. Eleven people sent to prison over the attacks in Guildford and Woolwich in 1974. They were subject to such a horrific political ordeal and a deep miscarriage of injustice. The wrongly convicted were members and friends of two Irish families living in the UK at the time - the Conlons and Maguires. Although the Conlon father and son never did meet in prison (like they do in the film) it is still pretty much an accurate portrayal or police brutality and the corruption of the justice system.
In many ways the film has been deemed "inappropriate" along side other films such a "Bloody Sunday" because apparently they do not add anything of value to restoring peace, but the truth is that this kind of material has been censored in Ireland and the UK until the 1990s when for the first time the party of Sinn Fein was allowed a voice to represent Catholics in Northern Ireland - Jerry Adams was actually allowed to appear on the news and talk.
The problem is that the government is not responsible for the courts which allowed people to be subjected to the kind of ordeal that these two families went through, scapegoats for a political body that wanted to keep censoring the full extent of the troubles in the North.
This is a well-made movie with some great acting. Riveting stuff through and through and one of the best prison/court dramas who can get your hands on. In light of the Prime Minister's apology, this is work looking into again."
Heartbreaking and bittersweet
Shelley Gammon | Kaufman, Texas USA | 12/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day Lewis) was a small-time petty thief in the early seventies and found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when IRA terrorists bombed a pub in 1974 - killing 4 people.Totally innocent, Conlon is treated with contempt - even physically tortured and terrorized until he confesses only to make the torture stop.Soon his father and most of his family are also convicted of bomb making and being part of larger conspiracies including being deeply entrenched in the IRA.His father Giuseppe (played masterfully by Pete Postlethwaite) and most of his family are also rounded up and promptly convicted - from the youngest cousin to an elderly grandmother - all wrongly convicted and sent to bleak, dank prisons for very lengthy terms.What makes this so compelling and tragic is that this is entirely a true story. Conlon really served 15 years in prison and thanks to his diligent attorney and the discovery of withheld evidence that freed him in 1989 - otherwise he may well still be languishing in jail, with little sympathy from the outside.The only good side of this horrific twist of justice was the closeness Gerry ends up having with his father. Once somewhat distant, they find themselves as unwilling cellmates in prison. As miserable as they both are at the situation, the fact that they can keep each other company is a bittersweet comfort.They grow closer than they likely would have ever gotten had they not been imprisoned together. Compounded by age and the damp, awful conditions of the prison, Giuseppe finds himself sicker and sicker until he is finally taken to the hospital all too late. Gerry is not permitted to be at his father's side as he is taken to the hospital, only to find out later that his father has died, leaving Gerry alone with no one to console his broken heart.The injustice done to the "Guildford Four" in a small way was a necessary evil, in that it so shocked the conscience of British common man, that many reforms were put in to place to help prevent this sort of thing from happening again.While Emma Thompson's character (Conlon's lawyer) doesn't make an appearance until near the end of the story, her presence is powerful and an important balance for the film.Only someone with the stoniest of hearts will not feel at least a lump in their throat at many scenes of this well acted, compelling, real-life drama - nor will you finish watching it and not be changed in some way."
kentuckyreader | Louisville, Kentucky USA | 02/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."