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