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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 Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

Every time I saw the previews for IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, I wanted to see the show even more since it had some of my favorite movie components: a true story, courtroom drama, detective work, and some of the best acting talent around. The short version of the story is that there was a pub bombing in Guildford, England subsequent to which the police arrested, tortured, and insured the conviction of the wrong people by illegal means. After 15 years, a smart lawyer with good detective skills got them freed.

Sad to say that I only kind of liked this show. The start in Northern Ireland (5%) was fascinating, the trial scenes (5%) were excellent, and the amazing detective work (2%) was great. The other 88% of the show was set in prison and the director (Jim Sheridan), screenwriters (Terry George and Jim Sheridan) , and especially the editor (Gerry Hambling) did a wonderful job of making us feel the tedious live of the prisoners. This 88% itself was slow and tedious. They accomplished their goal.

The acting was good especially by Daniel Day-Lewis although he was not near as good as in THE AGE OF INNOCENCE. Pete Postlethwaite did a moving portrayal as his father. Emma Thompson, as the lawyer/detective, was not in the show near enough. The writer was much more interested in the minutia of prison life than in courtroom scenes or detective work. Finally, the original prosecutor was played by the boy friend (Daniel Massey) from "The Golden Bowl" for you PBS fans - still love that series.

One final note, I believe that they got the wrong people, I believe that some of the police (played in the movie by Corin Redgrave, et. al.) did illegal activities (which a later jury did not), but I do not buy the massive scale portrayed in the picture. 20+ police officers all observing or actively participating? I don't think so.

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER runs too long at 2:12. The scriptwriters and the editor should have given us a lot more courtroom drama and detective work and less retreats about prison life. This is an overly earnest movie about an important subject. It is easy to review the subject rather than the movie. Nevertheless, for me, the film only had a few good parts, but these were so outstanding that I give it thumbs up, and rated it ** 1/2. It is rated R for serious violence. Only mature teenagers should see it.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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