"In the Name of the Father" is an excellent drama
that tells the story of Gerry Conlon, an Irish
petty criminal who finds himself framed, along with
friends and entire family, for an IRA bombing that
he had nothing to do with.
Conlon is played by one of my favorite actors,
versatile Daniel Day-Lewis, with the same intensity
and credibility that he had in his Oscar winning
role in "My Left Foot". The film makes it clear
that Conlon is more irresponsible than innocent, but
the same cannot be said for his family, especially
disapproving father Giuseppe (Pete Postlethwaite).
The relationship between Gerry and his father is
extensively explored. They love each other, but
Gerry is frustrated because he cannot meet the
expectations of his father. Still, Giuseppe believes
that his son is innocent of the bombing. Emma
Thompson plays a British lawyer who is convinced
of the injustice of their case and seeks to free them.
IRA terrorist (and fictional character) McAndrew
(Don Baker) is inserted to make obvious a cover-up
by British policemen. When both Conlons end up
rejecting McAndrew's methods, "In the Name of the
Father" finally repudiates terrorism as a method
of achieving political independence.
The film scores points when rebuking martial law,
allowing suspects to be held indefinitely without
counsel and subject to torture and intimidation.
Judicial injustice is an under-rated movie theme,
greatly increasing the audience's sympathy
and identification with the oppressed.
The film's pro-Irish sympathies are expressed
in the soundtrack as well, which features Irish
acts such as U2 and Sinead O'Connor.
Copyright © 1993 Brian Koller