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In the Name of the Father

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: In the Name of the Father

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite
Director: Jim Sheridan
Rated: R
RunTime: 126 Minutes
Release Date: January 1994
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Emma Thompson, John Lynch, Corin Redgrave, Don Baker, Beatie Edney, Daniel Massey

Review by Brian Koller
3½ stars out of 4

"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

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