In The Name of the Father Ireland Movie Review (2013)

In The Name of the Father Ireland Movie Review (2013)

When we set off on this episode of our armchair traveller's trip to Ireland, I had not heard Gerry Conlon's story nor that of the Guildford Four. Conlon, as the Blu-ray cover says, was "falsely accused, wrongly imprisoned and had to fight for justice for his father's name."

Despite the R rating for language and violence, I did enjoy In The Name of the Father and thought that Daniel Day-Lewis did an excellent job of portraying the victim. The movie did not win any Academy Awards, but was nominated for seven, a definite indicator in my mind of a good movie.

It was not easy to watch, however. The fact that Conlon was a drifter and a petty thief did not make his tale of gross injustice any easier to watch. The level of police corruption was definitely disturbing.

In The Name of the Father is set in Belfast, Ireland and in Guildford, England in the 1970s. The IRA bombed a pub in Guildford and Conlon and his friends had the misfortune of being Irishmen in the vicinity at the time.  Using the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the police arrested him and his friends and eventually 15 members of his family.  In 1989, after the Guildford Four had spent 14 years in prison, Conlon's lawyer found a piece of evidence that had been hidden by the police, proving the innocence of Conlon but also of his father who died while in prison, his friends and his family.

Blogger Oscar Champs reports in his post that the story is not completely accurate, which is usually true of historically based stories and most movies and the director of In The Name of the Father eventually said that he changed facts, dates, etc. to suit his story. With this regard, the New York Times said that the film is "faithful to the larger facts while taking minor liberties," which seems reasonable to me. Even if the movie is not completely accurate, I believe that it tells a story that needs to be told and that it provides another look into Ireland's history. 

Proved Innocent Gerry Conlon
In his 1994 review Roger Ebert said that the story is really of how Conlon grows while in prison from an "unbalanced, angry homeless man" into a man who is "sober, intelligent, radicalized." He called the film interesting because "much of it is inspired by the love of the father for his son." Despite such praise, he gave the film 3 stars.

In closing their review linked above, The New York Times said, "A personal tragedy and a plea for reason, this tough, riveting film succeeds on both scores." 

Is this movie recommended by me? Yes, if you are interested in a look at this period in Ireland's history, if you are interested in a totally unbelievable story that is actually true and if you keep in mind that it is rated R for violence and language. There is a lot to think about here.

You can learn more about In the Name of The Father or buy your copy on Amazon by clicking right here. If you want more story, you might check out Conlon's book Proved Innocent on Amazon, too. Presumably, it does a better job of sticking to Gerry Conlon's version of the facts.

See you
at the movies!

More About Ireland:

Buy In The Name of the Father on Amazon.

Read my My Left Foot Movie Review.
Read my Michael Collins Movie Review.

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